China has released a major policy document outlining the strategic patience underpinning its objective of “reunification” with Taiwan. In it, Beijing holds open the door to peace, but warns it could be compelled to use force, The Week reported.
“The Taiwan Question and China’s Reunification in the New Era,” the first Chinese government white paper on the topic in 22 years and the first under the leadership of President Xi Jinping, was published after a week of intense Chinese military drills around Taiwan appeared to ease on Wednesday.
The report repeats many of Beijing’s familiar talking points, including its argument that Taiwan’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) was responsible for raising tensions across the Taiwan Strait by refusing to accept Beijing’s principle of “one China.”
President Tsai Ing-wen of Taiwan, who still enjoys majority public approval two years into her second four-year term, is regarded as a technocrat and skilled negotiator. Her party was reelected in a landslide to maintain the cross-strait “status quo,” Taiwan’s uneasy but separate existence from the Chinese mainland, and she has gradually increased the island’s defense spending in order to do so.
“The actions of the DPP authorities have resulted in cross-strait tensions, endangered peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait, and undermined the prospects and squeezed the space for peaceful reunification,” said the document published by the Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) and China’s State Council Information Office, the propaganda arm of the central government, as per The Week.
“These are obstacles that must be cleared to advance the process of peaceful reunification,” it said, hinting at its view of the DPP as a barrier to be removed.
Beijing claims the island as its own, but Taiwan regards itself as a functionally independent country, albeit one with limited international recognition. Since last Thursday, Chinese forces have staged the largest show of force in the seas and airspace around Taiwan proper, as well as its outlying islands, in response to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s recent high-profile visit to Taipei.
Last week, US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi became the highest-ranking US official to visit Taiwan in decades despite stark threats from China.