Xi Jinping warns China may use force to retake Taiwan in horrifying escalation of tensions


Xi Jinping has warned he may use “force” to retake Taiwan, as tensions over the island continue to simmer. Giving a speech earlier this week, the Chinese President said: “We have resolutely waged a major struggle against separatism and interference, demonstrating our strong determination and ability to safeguard state sovereignty and territorial integrity and oppose Taiwan independence.” He said that China will “never commit to abandoning the use of force” in its unification with Taiwan.

Mr Xi described reunification as inevitable.

He added that China will accelerate the building of a world-class military and strengthen its ability to build a strategic nuclear deterrent capability.

Taiwan, located less than 110 miles off the coast of China, considers itself a sovereign nation but it has long been claimed by China.

There have been growing concerns that China will attempt to use military power to take control of the island, as the country has built up its military presence near Taiwanese airspace.

Earlier this month, tensions between the two countries grew as Taiwan issued China with a warning over incursions into its territorial airspace.

Chinese fighter jets or drones that intrude into Taiwan’s territorial airspace will be regarded as a “first strike”, Taiwan’s Defense Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng said.

He did not specify how Taipei would respond if Chinese aircraft breached the zone, beginning 12 nautical miles (22.2 kilometers) from the island’s shores.

Speaking at a meeting of Taiwan’s Foreign and National Defense Committee, the minister said: “In the past, we said we won’t be the first to strike, which meant we will not fire the first shot without (China) firing artillery shells or missiles first.

READ MORE: ‘World should prepare for imminent Chinese war on Taiwan’

“We will not provoke disputes and we will be restrained, yet that does not mean we will not counteract.”

China increasingly sends warplanes into Taiwan’s air defence zone.

The past year has seen a record number of incursions sent into Taiwan’s air defence zone by Chinese warplanes, with aircraft regularly crossing the median line which for years acted as an unofficial barrier between the two sides.

The incursions increased dramatically after Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi visited the island in August.

While Chinese military activities near Taiwan have decreased since then, they have continued.

Speaking about the incursions, Mr Chiu said: “The median line was supposed to be a tacit agreement for everyone.

“That tacit agreement has been destroyed.”


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