Mainland China releases white paper declaring Beijing's 'greatest sincerity' over Taiwan reunification

Chengdu J-20 stealth fighter jets of Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force perform with open weapon bays during the China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition, or Zhuhai Airshow, in Zhuhai, Guangdong province, China, on Nov 11, 2018.
PHOTO: Reuters

Beijing emphasises its “greatest sincerity” for peaceful reunification with Taiwan , amid escalating drills surrounding the self-ruled island in response to US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s unannounced visit.

The Taiwan Affairs Office and the Information Office, both under Beijing’s State Council, jointly issued a white paper titled “The Taiwan Issue and China’s Reunification in the New Era” on Wednesday (Aug 10) reiterating Beijing’s claims to the island and denouncing “Taiwan independence” efforts.

The document, presented in five sections, repeats Beijing’s determination to reunite with the island, but takes a relatively conciliatory approach in its emphasis of increased cross-strait communications.

The paper also said other countries could continue to develop economic and cultural relations with Taiwan after reunification. Those nations could set up consulates or semi-official agencies in Taiwan, while international organisations could establish an office on the island, with the approval of the central government of China.

“We will work with the greatest sincerity and exert our utmost efforts to achieve peaceful reunification,” the paper said.

“But we will not renounce the use of force, and we reserve the option of taking all necessary measures. This is to guard against external interference and all separatist activities. In no way does it target our fellow Chinese in Taiwan,” it said.

“We will only be forced to take drastic measures to respond to the provocation of separatist elements or external forces should they ever cross our red lines.”

The People’s Liberation Army began its now-extended exercises around the island on Thursday, soon after Pelosi left on Aug 3.

The paper said “some forces” in the United States were trying to “use Taiwan as a pawn against China”.

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“Left unchecked, it will continue to escalate tension across the strait, further disrupt China-US relations and severely damage the interests of the US itself,” it said.

It repeated its call for reunification and governance of Taiwan under the “one country, two systems” model.

One objective listed in the paper was to “overcome the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, insist on holding cross-strait exchanges such as the Straits Forum and maintain the development of exchanges and cooperation between compatriots on both sides of the strait”.

Pelosi stood by her decision to visit Taiwan, saying “it was worth it”.

“We cannot allow the Chinese government to isolate Taiwan. They may say to them, you can’t go to the World Health Organisation, but they’re not going to say who can go to Taiwan,” she said during an NBC interview on Tuesday.

“And yes, it was worth it. And what the Chinese are doing is what they usually do.”

Pelosi also said she had “overwhelming bipartisan support” for her visit.

More to follow …

This article was first published in South China Morning Post.