Xi Jinping, China’s President, has warned self-ruled Taiwan that it will face the “punishment of history” for any attempt at separatism.
In a speech at the end of China’s annual session of parliament, Xi told the 3,000-odd delegates that the country would push for the “peaceful reunification of the motherland” and work for more Taiwanese to enjoy the opportunities of China’s development.
“It is a shared aspiration of all Chinese people and in their basic interests to safeguard China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and realise China’s complete reunification,” Xi said.
“Any actions and tricks to split China are doomed to failure and will meet with the people’s condemnation and the punishment of history.”
Xi said China has the will, confidence, and ability to defeat any separatist activity.
“The Chinese people share a common belief that it is never allowed and it is absolutely impossible to separate any inch of our great country’s territory from China,” he said.
China’s hostility toward Taiwan has risen since the 2016 election of President Tsai Ing-wen from the island’s pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party.
China suspects Tsai wants to push for formal independence, which would cross a red line for Communist Party leaders in Beijing, though Tsai has said she wants to maintain the status quo and is committed to ensuring peace.
China has been infuriated by Donald Trump’s signing into law a legislation that encourages the US to send senior officials to Taiwan and vice versa.
The US does not have formal ties with Taiwan but is required by law to help with its self-defence and is also the island’s primary source of weapons.
“Only those who are in the habit of threatening others will see everyone else as a threat,” Xi said.