China’s reunification, the only future for Taiwan island
Published: Sep 03, 2022 09:02 PM
A People's Liberation Army(PLA) soldier looks around with a telescope on August 5, 2022, as the Navy of the PLA Eastern Theater Command continues drills the waters around the island of Taiwan. Photo: Xinhua

A People's Liberation Army (PLA) soldier looks around with a telescope on August 5, 2022, as the Navy of the PLA Eastern Theater Command continues drills the waters around the island of Taiwan. Photo: Xinhua

Not long ago, in disregard of the strong opposition of the Chinese government, Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the US House of Representatives, paid a deliberate and provocative visit to Taiwan, which aroused the strong indignation of the Chinese people and led to our strong countermeasures. On the other hand, it gave us a chance to spell out policies concerning Taiwan island and show our determination and capabilities to resolve the Taiwan question.

Taiwan lies on the southeastern continental shelf of the Chinese mainland. People on both sides of the Straits have common ancestors and cultures.  

Taiwan came to be opened up and settled by the Chinese people over a thousand years ago. References to this effect are to be found in Seaboard Geographic Gazetteer compiled by Shen Ying of the State of Wu during the period of the Three Kingdoms. In the Song Dynasty and the Yuan Dynasty, the Chinese government dispatched commissioners to and exercised jurisdiction over Taiwan. In 1684, the Qing government set up Taiwan Prefecture Administration under the jurisdiction of Fujian Province. In 1885, the Qing government formally made Taiwan a full province. In history, Taiwan has never been a country. Although it had been occupied by foreign invaders, it was finally recovered by China. In 1945, on the ceremony for accepting Japan's surrender, the chief officer proclaimed on behalf of the Chinese government that Taiwan and the Penghu Archipelago had again been incorporated formally into the territory of China and that the territory, people, and administration had now been placed under the sovereignty of China.  In the following year, compatriots in Taiwan sent a delegation to Shaanxi Province to worship Huang Di (the Yellow Emperor), affirming their Chinese origin and identity and the recovery of Taiwan and expressing their happiness on Taiwan's return to the motherland.

On October 1, 1949, the Central People's Government of the People's Republic of China was founded, replacing the Government of the Republic of China as the sole legal government of the whole of China. This replacement within China did not change China's sovereignty and inherent territory.  Although Chinese people on both sides of the Straits have not yet been reunified, the fact that Taiwan is part of China's territory has not been changed, nor has the fact that Taiwan is under China's sovereignty. The government of the People's Republic of China, as the sole legal government of the whole of China, definitely has the jurisdiction over Taiwan. 

It is a shared aspiration of the entire Chinese people and the goal of the Communist Party of China to realize national rejuvenation and complete reunification. The Constitution of the People's Republic of China clearly stipulates: "Taiwan is part of the sacred territory of the People's Republic of China. It is the inviolable duty of all Chinese people, including our compatriots in Taiwan, to accomplish the great task of reunifying the motherland." 

It is the historical and constitutional responsibilities of the Chinese government to resolve the Taiwan question and realize China's complete reunification. Although there is more than one way to achieve this goal, we will work with the greatest sincerity and exert our utmost efforts to achieve peaceful reunification. At the same time, we will always be ready to take all necessary measures if need be. 

For the past seven decades, the CPC and the Chinese government have been making resolute efforts to realize China's reunification, and have made great progress in realizing peaceful reunification and getting ready to respond with use of force or other necessary means. From the 1950s to the 1970s, we proposed the basic policy for peaceful settlement of the Taiwan question, and at the same time carried out resolute military struggle against the Taiwan authorities' plans to attack the mainland. We have facilitated the recognition and support for one-China principle in the international community, where more and more countries have recognized the government of the People's Republic of China as the sole legal government representing the whole of China. The lawful seats in multilateral organizations and institutions such as the United Nations were restored to the People's Republic of China. These laid the political foundation for the realization of China's reunification.

With the reform and opening up, the CPC introduced the creative concept of "One Country, Two Systems" in the vital interests of the country and the people, which created a new situation in the development of peaceful reunification of China and opened a new chapter in cross-Straits relations. It took action to ease the military confrontation across the Taiwan Straits, and the estrangement between the two sides was ended.  With the increasingly frequent exchanges, the relevant organizations from the two sides of the Straits initiated consultation and communication, and reached the 1992 Consensus, which embodies the one-China principle and the spirit of working together to achieve reunification. In 2005, the leaders of the CPC and the Kuomintang held the first talks in six decades after 1945 and had an in-depth and extensive exchange of views on facilitating the development of cross-Strait relations.  In 2008, the two sides of the Straits established overall direct two-way links in mail, business and transport. In 2010, the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement was signed.  The cross-Straits relations have undergone profound changes.  During this period, we resolutely opposed separatist activities and external interference. We pushed for the enactment of the Anti-Secession Law to curb separatist activities in Taiwan, which provides legal grounds for use of force and other necessary measures to defend state sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Since its 18th CPC National Congress, under the leadership of Xi Jinping, has added substance to the theory on national reunification and the principles and policies concerning Taiwan, developed its overall policy for resolving the Taiwan question in the new era, and further promoted national reunification. In 2015, the leaders of the two sides held the first meeting since 1949, opening up a new chapter of the development of cross-Straits relations.  

The exchanges and cooperation cross the Straits have been more extensive and the interaction has become closer. The volume of cross-Straits trade rose to USD 328.34 billion in 2021, up by a factor of more than 7,000 as against 1978. Now, the mainland is Taiwan's largest export market and the largest destination for Taiwan's off-island investment. Meanwhile, we have taken effective measures to fight back against separatist activities and external interference, firmly defended peace and stability across the Taiwan Straits and China's sovereignty and territorial integrity. China's defense capabilities have been increased significantly. The fighters around the island, the close-in warships, and the missiles over the island are powerful warnings in response to separatist activities and external interference.  While compatriots in Taiwan have benefited from the conviction that people on both sides of the Straits are of the same family, they have also felt the harm of separatist activities.

The DPP authorities in Taiwan are trying to pursue "independence" and resist reunification, while the anti-China forces in the US are scheming to use Taiwan as a pawn against China. They are just like a two-head snake aiming at obstructing the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. However, the complete reunification is critical to China's national rejuvenation. The CPC and the Chinese people will make resolute efforts to realize China's reunification and overcome all difficulties to accomplish the historical mission. Reunification is the only future for Taiwan, and no other option will work. China's reunification is a process that cannot be halted and those who go with it will prosper, those against it shall perish.

The author is Zhan Yongxin, Director and Senior Research Fellow, Center for Strategic Studies under the China Foundation for International Studies.