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China Walks Back Promise Not To Use Force In Taiwan ‘Reunification’

(Photo by DALE DE LA REY/AFP via Getty Images)

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The Chinese government issued an official document Wednesday that removes a previous pledge not to use force should China move forward with Taiwan “reunification.”

China promised in two previous white papers, published in 1993 and 2000, that it “will not send troops or administrative personnel to be based in Taiwan” after reuniting the self-governing island with mainland China, a goal China openly pursues, Reuters reported. The updated document, “The Taiwan Question and China’s Reunification in the New Era” under President Xi Jinping, omits that clause, instead advocating for a peaceful reunification but creating the possibility for use of military force as a last resort.

“National reunification by peaceful means is the first choice of the CPC and the Chinese government in resolving the Taiwan question, as it best serves the interests of the Chinese nation as a whole, including our compatriots in Taiwan, and it works best for the long-term stability and development of China,” the document stated. (RELATED: ‘Reunification’ And ‘Reeducation’ Coming For Taiwan, Chinese Ambassador Says)

“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,” the document continued.

“External inference” includes actions from the U.S., who maintains an independent relationship with Taiwan despite rejecting the island’s independence from China. When U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taipei in July, the Chinese government decried her move as a threat to Chinese sovereignty over its territorial claims on the mainland and in the South China Sea.

China responded with nine days of intense military exercises, including live fire drills, around Taiwan in a show of force meant to intimidate the country. While the People’s Liberation Army’s Eastern Theater Command declared its tasks “successfully completed” Wednesday, it said it would maintain regular patrols of the Taiwan Strait and remain combat-ready, Reuters reported.

Never before have we been so close to, confident in, and capable of achieving the goal of national rejuvenation. The same is true when it comes to our goal of complete national reunification,” the white paper said.

China seeks a “Two Systems” solution to what it calls the “Taiwan question,” where Taiwan maintains an allegedly autonomous government while under the auspices of the Chinese Communist Party, according to the document. President Xi proposed five major policies to advance reunification efforts, including “abiding by the one-China principle and safeguarding prospects for peaceful reunification” and “forging closer bonds of heart and mind between people on both sides of the Straits,” the document stated.

Taiwanese political parties have rejected the “One Country, Two Systems” model formerly applied in Hong Kong, according to Reuters.

“Only Taiwan’s 23 million people have the right to decide on the future of Taiwan, and they will never accept an outcome set by an autocratic regime,” the Taiwanese Mainland Affairs Council said.

The Chinese foreign ministry and State Council did not respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s requests for comment.

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