General Secretary Xi Jinping threatened the “use of force” to “resolve the Taiwan issue” during the opening session of the 20th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in Beijing, according to Chinese state-run media Sunday.
Although Xi stated that “peaceful reunification” with Taiwan was his nation’s aim, the dictator was quick to add that communist China reserved the “option of taking all measures necessary,” state-run CCTV News reported. While never directly calling out the U.S. by name, Xi warned against “interference” from “outside forces” related to the “Taiwan question.”
“Complete reunification of our country must be realized, and it can, without doubt, be realized!” Xi said, according to the report.
Beijing rejects Taiwan’s sovereignty and the People’s Liberation Army often threatens “reunification-by-force,” claiming that Taiwan is ruled by “separatists.” The People’s Republic of China was established by the CCP in the final days of China’s Civil War, which ended when the Nationalists fled from mainland China to Taiwan in 1949.
Tensions between the U.S. and China in the Indo-Pacific have spiked in recent years in keeping with Chinese military provocations, such as the PLA’s Taiwan invasion “rehearsal” which occurred in May. Moreover, the PLA has deployed warplanes into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone more than 1,400 times during Biden’s presidency, including when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan in August.
The U.S. officially adheres to a “one China policy,” which “does not support Taiwan independence,” yet makes available U.S. “defense articles and services” to the democratic island nation, according to the U.S. Department of State.
While the timeframe for a potential Taiwan invasion remains unclear, when the time comes Beijing intends to use “overwhelming force” to conquer Taiwan, CIA Director William Burns said during a July interview.
Nearly 2,300 delegates from across China will participate in the week-long 20th Party Congress, which will last from Oct. 16 until Oct. 22, according to China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. During the opening session Xi read from a work report and hailed his administration’s alleged achievements during the previous five years, stating that the country had “pursued a strategy of national rejuvenation amid global changes of a magnitude not seen in a century,” according to CCTV News.
Xi’s opening speech touched on a number of domestic issues including the purported progress of China’s food security, improvements in rural internet access and the development of China’s medical system, among other subjects.
In the intervening years, Xi repealed a constitutionally mandated restriction barring leaders from serving more than two terms and theoretically may now be reelected for a third term at some point during the 20th Party Congress.
Alternatively, experts such as Dan Harris, a Chinese legal specialist, have speculated that Xi may change the constitution again, becoming the first Chinese leader to adopt the title “chairman” since the position was eliminated in 1982 — a role which would effectively elevate Xi beyond all legal bounds.
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