Chinese President Xi Jinping say the self-governed island of Taiwan should abandon any thoughts of independence and accept that is part of the mainland.
President Xi reaffirmed his nation's long-standing policy towards Taiwan in a speech Wednesday marking the 40th anniversary of a landmark speech, “Message to Compatriots in Taiwan,” that eventually led to diplomatic relations between the rivals.
Xi said Beijing is open to creating a vast "space for peaceful reunification" with Taipei, which would occur under a "one country, two systems" framework. But he warned that China will not allow room for any sort of "separatist activities," and repeated its vow to use military action in order to achieve reunification.
Xi's speech was delivered a day after Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen said China must accept Taiwan's status as a self-ruled island.
In a New Year's Day address from her office, President Tsai said China had to "respect the insistence of 23 million people for freedom and democracy," and for both sides to face the reality that there are fundamental differences between their "values and lifestyles" and political systems.
Relations between Beijing and Taipei have been strained since Tsai, the leader of the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party, took office in 2016 and refused to accept the concept of China and Taiwan joined together as "one China."
Beijing has since mounted an aggressive posture towards Taipei, such as carrying out numerous military exercises in the Taiwan Strait, blocking Taipei's participation in international organizations, and persuading several nations to switch diplomatic relations from Taiwan to China.
China and Taiwan split after the 1949 civil war when Chaing Kai-shek's Nationalist forces were driven off the mainland by Mao Zedong's Communists and sought refuge on Taiwan.