China’s top official for cross-strait affairs laid out a framework for dealing with Taiwan for the first time on Thursday with a focus on “reunification,” The South China Morning Post reported.
Liu Jieyi, the head of the Taiwan Affairs Office, wrote in China’s People’s Daily that reunification with Taiwan should be promoted as part of China’s rejuvenation. He said that tensions and dangers across the Taiwan Strait should gradually be resolved as China grows.
Liu said that Taiwan’s “independence forces” are the biggest threat to reunification and vowed that China would punish these forces and crack down on foreign interference. In recent years, the US has stepped up cooperation and its informal ties with Taiwan, angering Beijing.
For decades, China has maintained that it seeks a “peaceful reunification” with Taiwan, and Beijing has an interest in avoiding a war since it has a robust trade relationship with the island. Attacking Taiwan would also require a massive amphibious invasion, dwarfing the size of the Allied invasion of Normandy on D-Day in World War II.
But China has always said it will not rule out using force to take Taiwan, something Liu reiterated. “We do not promise to renounce the use of force and reserve the option of taking all necessary measures,” Liu wrote. But for now, Liu said the peaceful development of cross-strait relations is the main “method” of China’s Taiwan policy.
Chinese officials have made clear to the US that the issue of Taiwan is a serious red line and that US support for “independence forces” on the island could lead to war. But that hasn’t stopped the US from increasing cooperation with Taipei and working to boost its military presence in the region.