Resolving ‘Taiwan question’ is national priority: China defence minister

Vastavam web: China’s defence minister said on Monday that resolving the “Taiwan question” is his country’s “greatest national interest,” and that no force could prevent China’s “reunification.” Separatist activities are doomed to failure, Defence Minister Wei Fenghe said at the opening in Beijing of the Xiangshan Forum, which China styles as its answer to the annual Shangri-La Dialogue security forum in Singapore.

Tensions between China and Taiwan have ratcheted up ahead of the self-ruled island’s presidential election in January. Taiwan is China’s most sensitive territorial issue. “China is the only major country in the world that is yet to be completely reunified,” Wei said. Proudly democratic Taiwan has lambasted China for its authoritarian rule and for being a threat to regional peace, while China has heaped pressure on Taiwan, whittling away at its few remaining diplomatic allies.

China regards Taiwan as its sacred territory, to be brought under Beijing’s rule, by force if needed, a message President Xi Jinping reiterated at the start of this year. China translates the word “tong yi” as “reunification,” but it can also be translated as “unification,” a term in English preferred by supporters of Taiwan independence who point out that Beijing’s Communist government has never ruled Taiwan and so it cannot be “reunified.”

The U.S. and China are also locked in a bitter trade war, though they have been holding talks to end it. “No one and no force can ever stop China’s full reunification. We are committed to promoting the peaceful development of cross-Taiwan strait relations and the peaceful reunification of the country,” Wei said.

“However we will never allow separatists for Taiwan independence to have their way, nor allow interference by any external forces. Advancing china’s reunification is a just cause, while separatist activities are doomed to failure.” China claims almost all the energy-rich waters of the South China Sea, but neighbours Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam also have claims.