A retired general for the People’s Liberation Army of China has warned Taiwan that war with Beijing is imminent if the island nation continues seeking independence.
“We have promised that Chinese people never fight against Chinese people, but if the pro-independence forces continue to press us, we will have no other chance but [to seek] reunification through use of force,” said former General Luo Yuan.
His remarks published in the Chinese state-run tabloid Global Times come more than a week after Taiwan’s independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party won a landslide victory in the presidential election.
Luo also echoed China’s longstanding view that Taiwan is still a break-away province of China and that reunification was inevitable.
“We have long been proposing peaceful development across the strait, but it doesn’t mean that we have weakened our will for reunification,” Luo said. “The final goal is reunification rather than a peaceful divide.
“Unification means peace and independence means war. Independence would never be equal with peace.”
Last week, CCTV reported that the PLA had led live-fire exercises and landing drills. However, a mainland defense ministry official said the drills were actually held last year.
Analysts believe the broadcast was made to intimidate the government of Tsai Ing-wen who now has to deal with maintaining the status-quo toward Beijing while meeting the demands of the pro-independence supporters that brought her to power.
A day after Tsai’s victory, the Taiwan Affairs Office released a statement saying it opposed “any form of secessionist activities seeking ‘Taiwan independence’”.
Since 1992, both sides have agreed to a “One China” policy in which both governments claim sovereignty over mainland China and Taiwan.