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Chinese President XI calls for 'reunification' with Taiwan

Chinese President XI calls for 'reunification' with Taiwan
Chinese President Xi Jinping delivers a speech Saturday at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, for a commemoration of the 110th anniversary commemoration of the 1911 revolution that overthrew China's last imperial dynasty. Photo by Roman Pilipey/EPA-EFE

Oct. 9 (UPI) -- Chinese President XI Jinping called Saturday for reunification with Taiwan in a speech marking the 110th anniversary of the revolution that overthrew China's last imperial dynasty.

Xi said the "reunification" with Taiwan "must be fulfilled," the BBC reported.

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It could be done in a "peaceful manner" and was "most in line with the overall interest of the Chinese nation, including Taiwan compatriots," he added.

Still, Xi warned of a "firm will" to complete the reunification.

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"No one should underestimate the Chinese people's staunch determination, firm will, and strong ability to defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity," Xi said.

Xi further warned that anyone opposed to this reunification would be "judged by history."

He also said that he would like to see the reunification occur under a "one country, two systems" principle similar to the model used in Hong Kong, which is part of China but has special status for a certain degree of autonomy.

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The president's speech came amid heightened tensions between China and Taiwan with dozens of Chinese military planes having flown into the Taiwan air defense identification zone last weekend, according to Taiwan's defense ministry.

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More incursions followed early this week despite the U.S. State Department warning Sunday to stop "provocative" flights in Taiwan's airspace.

Since the civil war in the 1940s where China and Taiwan were divided, Taiwan has seen itself as a sovereign state and Beijing has seen it as a breakaway province, the BBC noted.

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Based on the dozens of recent incursions, Taiwan's defense minister, Chiu Ko-cheng, said he fears China could launch a full-scale invasion by 2025, according to his remarks during a press conference Wednesday.

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