Jan. 2 (UPI) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping said Wednesday that Taiwan will be reunited with China and warned outsiders not to interfere with the country's affairs.
Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen refused to acknowledge a "one China" solution and she will not back down, despite losing re-election to a more Beijing-friendly opponent.
Xi has not ruled out the use of military force on Taiwan. He called independence for Taiwan a "dead end."
"It is a historical conclusion drawn over 70 years of development of cross-strait relations and a must for the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation in the new era," Xi said in a speech in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. "It's a legal fact that both sides of the Strait belong to one China, and cannot be changed by anyone or any force."
Xi added that China "reserves the option of taking all necessary measures against outside forces that interfere with peaceful reunification and against Taiwan independence separatist activities."
Xi's announcement comes 40 years after the United States broke ties with Taiwan and re-established relations with China. Taiwan has been independent since 1949 when China's old regime took refuge in the aftermath of the Communist Party's revolution.
Tsai gave her own New Years Day address where she urged China to "respect the commitment of the 23 million people of Taiwan to freedom and democracy." Taiwan's pro-independence party suffered a huge defeat at the polls in November. Voters also rejected a proposal for the country's athletes to compete representing Taiwan rather than Chinese Taipei.
Tsai said the results don't reflect the grass roots opinion in Taiwan and cites election interference by China.
Xi acknowledged that China had a "great victory in frustrating the Taiwan independence movement and other separatist activities."
Lev Nachman, a Taiwan expert and political science PhD candidate at the University of California Irvine, said Xi's comments are an oblique acknowledgement of election meddling.
"I am not sure we are going to get a more clear direct admittance from Xi himself that the (Chinese Communist Party) interferes with Taiwan's democratic elections," Nechman said. "This is something we have always known was a phenomenon, but never really had any 'hard proof.'"
The details of China's "Taiwan plan" would form "one country, two systems" that could lead to eventual reunification. It would be similar to how Beijing controls Hong Kong.