China says it will step up efforts to ‘peacefully reunite Taiwan’

Beijing, Sep 21 (EFE).- China said Wednesday it would make “the greatest effort” possible to achieve a peaceful “reunification” with Taiwan after weeks of incursions by planes and military ships in the Taiwanese Air Defense Identification Zone.

Spokesman Ma Xiaoguang, of the Office for Taiwan Affairs, said at a press conference in Beijing less than a month before the start of the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of China that the country is willing to do “the maximum possible efforts” to achieve a “peaceful reunification.”

“Mother Earth must be reunited and will inevitably be reunited,” Ma said, adding, as is customary in the statements of all Chinese spokesmen, that “China’s determination to safeguard its territory is unwavering.”

According to Ma, both parties will be able to “benefit” from a “peaceful, democratic and good-for-both reunification” consistent with the application of the “One country, two systems” principle, such as the one that governs Beijing’s relations with Hong Kong.

But whether relations across the Taiwan Strait are “peaceful and stable” depends “on their authorities abandoning independence ideas,” the spokesman added.

The statements coincide with others from a spokesman for the Eastern Command of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army who said Wednesday that his units are on “high alert” due to the passage of two warships, belonging to the United States and Canadian navies. They sailed through the international waters of the Taiwan Strait on Tuesday, in the second such transit by the US in a month.

The Taiwanese Defense Ministry said Tuesday it denounced the Monday presence of nine planes and five Chinese military ships in the Air Defense Identification Zone, with four aircraft crossing the so-called median line of the Taiwan Strait.

The median line of the Strait of Formosa, which in practice is an unofficial border tacitly respected by Taipei and Beijing in recent decades, has been constantly crossed in recent weeks by Chinese forces during military exercises.

On Saturday, Taiwan denounced another Chinese raid for its zone, with the novelty of having detected the presence for the first time of a new type of armed surveillance drone, a CH-4.

In the last year the number of Chinese incursions has increased, actions that have been condemned by both Taiwan and the United States.

These movements reached their peak in frequency in October last year, when Beijing was celebrating the anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. It remains to be seen if they will continue during the 20th Congress of the party that begins on Oct. 16 and in which Chinese President Xi Jinping is running for an unprecedented third term among his immediate predecessors.

The visit at the beginning of August by the US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, deeply irritated the Chinese government, which has responded with economic sanctions and the announcement of military maneuvers in the waters surrounding Taiwan.

China claims sovereignty over the island and has considered Taiwan a rebellious province since the Kuomintang nationalists withdrew there in 1949 after losing the civil war against the communists.

Taiwan, with whom the US does not maintain official relations, is one of the main sources of conflict between China and the US, mainly because Washington is the main supplier of weapons to the island and would be its greatest military ally in case of war. EFE


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