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China’s Xi Jinping ramps up threats against Taiwan – warning ‘reunification’ is inevitable | World News


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Chinese President Xi Jinping has said in his televised New Year address that his country’s “reunification” with Taiwan is inevitable, renewing Beijing’s threats to take over the self-ruled island.

Taiwan split from China amid civil war in 1949, but Beijing continues to regard the island of 23 million people as its territory.

In recent years, Mr Xi and his officials have been ramping up military pressure to assert its sovereignty claims over democratically governed Taiwan.

“China will surely be reunified, and all Chinese on both sides of the Taiwan Strait should be bound by a common sense of purpose,” Mr Xi said in his annual address to mark the new year.

Though the president made no mention of military threats in his speech, China has never renounced using force to bring Taiwan under Chinese control.

Taiwan is holding its presidential and parliamentary elections on 13 January amid a time of increasingly fraught relations between Beijing and Taipei.

Beijing considers the presidential front-runner, William Lai, from the ruling Democratic People’s Party, who currently serves as vice president, a “separatist” and has accused him and Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen of trying to provoke a Chinese attack on the island.

On Saturday, Chen Binhua, spokesman for China’s Taiwan Affairs Office, called Mr Lai a “destroyer of peace” following a televised debate earlier that day in which Mr Lai defended Taiwan’s right to rule itself as a democracy.

Mr Chen said Mr Lai’s discourse at the debate was “full of confrontational thinking”, adding that the vice president is “the instigator of a potential dangerous war in the Taiwan Strait”.

While Mr Lai does not describe himself as seeking independence from Beijing, he generally maintains that Taiwan is already an independent country.

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His election rivals include Hou Yu-ih, from the more China-friendly Kuomintang Party, and Ko Wen-je, from the Taiwan People’s Party.

Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin made only a passing mention to Ukraine in his New Year address on Sunday, instead hailing his soldiers as “heroes” who are “at the forefront of the fight for truth and justice”.

Russian President Vladimir Putin listens to Rostec State Corporation CEO Sergei Chemezov during their meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, Dec. 28, 2023. (Gavriil Grigorov, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)
Vladimir Putin praised ‘heroes’ serving in the Russian army. Pic: AP

“To everyone who is at a combat post: You are our heroes, our hearts are with you. We are proud of you, we admire your courage,” he said.

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The pre-recorded address, aired just before midnight in each of Russia‘s 11 time zones, was in sharp contrast to last year, when he stood with grim-looking soldiers to make a stern call for sacrifice in what he cast as a fight for survival.

Putin, 71, is all but certain to win the country’s election in March, with all significant opposition forces suppressed.

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Written by: radioroxi

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