In a recent speech commemorating the 130th anniversary of People's Republic of China founder Mao Zedong's birth, Chinese leader Xi Jinping reiterated Beijing's longstanding position on Taiwan, declaring its "reunification" with China as "inevitable." His remarks come just weeks before a significant presidential election in Taiwan, adding a layer of complexity to the already strained cross-strait relations.
Xi's assertion of "complete reunification" aligns with his broader ambition to restore China to a position of global power and influence. This objective has been a central theme of his leadership, marking him as one of the most influential Chinese leaders since Mao Zedong.
Election in Taiwan: A Reflection of Cross-Strait Sentiments
The upcoming presidential vote in Taiwan is more than just a political event; it serves as a barometer for the island's public sentiment towards China. Political parties in Taiwan often have polarized views on relations with Beijing, and elections tend to become a litmus test for the island's stance towards the mainland.
These elections are also a period when Taiwan claims to experience an increase in influence operations from China’s ruling Communist Party. China, under the Communist Party, considers Taiwan a part of its territory, despite never having governed it.
While the official stance emphasizes peaceful "reunification," the possibility of using force has not been explicitly ruled out by Chinese officials. Xi’s speech, with its firm emphasis on preventing any form of Taiwan's separation from China, can be perceived as a veiled warning, directed not only towards Taipei but also towards international players like Washington.
US-China Relations and the Taiwan Issue
Taiwan remains one of the most contentious issues in US-China relations. During a recent summit in San Francisco, Xi reportedly told US President Joe Biden that the reunification with Taiwan is "unstoppable." This statement, as per China's Foreign Ministry, reflects the unwavering Chinese position on this matter.
The United States, while maintaining an unofficial relationship with Taiwan, adheres to a "One China" policy. This policy acknowledges China's claim over Taiwan but stops short of officially recognizing it. Furthermore, the US is legally obligated to provide Taiwan with the means to defend itself, adding another layer of complexity to the delicate balance of power in the region.