Beijing sternly warned Taiwan Thursday that efforts to prevent reunification by gathering weaponry are “futile.”
Taiwan’s defense ministry claimed earlier this month the military had the ability to launch missiles that could strike deep into Chinese territory. Shortly thereafter, U.S. officials revealed that the new administration under President Donald Trump is preparing a arms package for the self-ruled island, which Beijing perceives as a separatist province.
“Separatist Taiwan independence forces and their activities are the greatest threat to peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait,” Chinese Ministry of National Defense spokesman Wu Qian told reporters at a press conference Thursday, Reuters reports.
“It is futile to ‘use weapons to refuse unification’, and is doomed to have no way out,” he explained, without going into details.
China regards national sovereignty, security, and unity as unquestionable national interests, and Chinese leadership has never taken military action off the table as an option for reunification.
The rift between the mainland and Taiwan is a byproduct of the Chinese civil war, which was fought shortly after the conclusion of the Second World War and for which a peace treaty has never been signed. The People’s Liberation Army has well over 1,000 missiles, including high-precision DF-16 missiles, aimed at Taiwan, and Chinese troops regularly train for a future invasion.
While the U.S. does not recognize Taiwan as an independent country, Washington maintains an informal relationship with Taipei through alternative diplomatic channels. The U.S. has a security agreement with Taiwan and has been overtly arming Taiwan with weaponry in an effort to deter China from pursuing reunification through force.
Tensions between Beijing and Taipei have flared since the election of Tsai Ing-wen, a strong Taiwanese president with pro-independence leanings. Voices pushing China to use its military might to retake Taiwan have reportedly grown louder in recent months. Premier Li Keqiang recently made clear China’s position, stating that China “will never tolerate any activity, in any form or name, which attempts to separate Taiwan from the motherland.”
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