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Taiwan's unification with the mainland is "inevitable", President Xi Jinping said today, warning against any efforts to promote the island's independence and saying China would not renounce the option of using military force to bring it into the fold.

Xi was speaking on the anniversary of the "Message to Compatriots in Taiwan" on January 1, 1979, when China declared an end to what had been routine artillery bombardment of Taiwan-controlled offshore islands and offered to open up communication between the two sides.

"Reunification is the historical trend and the right path, Taiwan independence is. a dead end", he warned.

China President Xi Jinping speaks during an event to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Message to Compatriots in Taiwan at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.

Under this framework, debuted by the Taiwanese leader on Tuesday, China must recognize the existence of the Republic of China (ROC), the formal name for Taiwan's government, while respecting the commitment of the 23 million people of Taiwan to democracy and freedom as precursors to cross-strait engagement.

The "Message of Compatriots in Taiwan" on January 1, 1979, declared an end to routine artillery bombardment of Taiwan-controlled islands close to China, marking a turning point from decades of hostility between the two sides.

The MAC also urged China not to misjudge the situation and take any unilateral action as Taiwan is prepared to safeguard its dignity and sovereignty.

In his first major speech for the new year, President Xi gave a definitive outline of the future of China-Taiwan relations, assuring the Taiwanese their rights and interests would be protected, while appealing to their emotions as ethnic Chinese who should rightfully be bonded to the motherland. Over the past year, Beijing has ramped up efforts to isolate Taiwan, through pressuring global companies and airlines to list the territory as part of mainland China.

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Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen holding a news conference in reaction to Chinese President Xi Jinping's speech in Taipei.

In January 1979, Beijing declared an end to what had been routine artillery bombardment of Taiwan-controlled offshore islands close to China and offered to open up communications between the two sides, after decades of hostility. The rival Nationalists set up their own government on the island about 160 kilometres off the Chinese mainland.

Beijing has won over more and more of Taipei's few worldwide allies to cut diplomatic ties with the island and establish relations with China instead.

Taiwan's leader rejected his call just hours later.

But Xi's vision of unification with China has little support within Taiwan.

National rejuvenation - a Xi catchphrase for returning China to its former glory - remains the biggest overall goal for the current Chinese leadership, and unifying Taiwan may be seen as part of that project's road map, Tang said.

China implemented the "one country, two systems" model in Hong Kong after the territory's return to China in 1997, but pro-democracy Hong Kongers have accused Beijing of failing to honor its pledge of allowing the territory a high degree of autonomy.

Xi said going against the "one China principle will result in tension and turbulence".


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