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China's Xi Jinping says Taiwan must be unified with mainland
[BEIJING] Chinese President Xi Jinping said Taiwan must be unified with the mainland to achieve his goal of completing the country's rejuvenation.
"China must and will be united, which is an inevitable requirement for the historical rejuvenation of the Chinese nation in the new era," Mr Xi told a gathering in Beijing to mark the 40th anniversary of a landmark Beijing overture to Taipei after the US and China established relations.
Mr Xi also sent a warning to advocates of Taiwan's independence, who include supporters of Taiwanese President Tsai Ing Wen. "It's a legal fact that both sides of the straits belong to one China, and cannot be changed by anyone or any force," Mr Xi said.
Ms Tsai warned against continued threats from China in her New Year's Day address Tuesday, signalling a hard line despite her recent election losses to Taiwan's more Beijing-friendly Kuomintang opposition.
Their speeches come ahead of the 70-year anniversary of the Communist Party's takeover of China, as Mr Xi faces growing criticism within the party over his handling of foreign affairs - notably strained relations with Washington, whose moves to support Taiwan have drawn China's ire.
On Jan 1, 1979, China stopped decades of regular artillery bombardment of Taiwan-controlled islands off the mainland. In a historic overture, it issued a public letter to the Taiwanese known as the "message to compatriots in Taiwan", calling for an end to military confrontation across the Taiwan Strait and saying it would open communication between the two sides.