China says it will use force to take control of Taiwan if diplomacy fails: 'We will smash all separatist ploy'
General Li Zuocheng warned Taiwan days after Beijing came up with a controversial security law on Hong Kong
At a time when it is facing some backlash from the rest of the world over the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic that probably originated on its shores, China has escalated its bilateral relations with various nations — from land and marital neighbors to distant rivals. On Friday, May 29, however, it asserted that Beijing hasn’t ruled out using force to take control of Taiwan as the country’s Communist Party concluded its annual National People’s Congress in the national capital.
General Li Zuocheng, the chief of the Joint Staff Department of the Central Military Commission, said while peaceful diplomacy is still being preferred, Beijing will not hesitate to use force to establish control over Taipei as part of its ‘One China’ policy. China has also seen its border tension with India rising at the moment, besides taking on the protesters in Hong Kong. On Thursday, May 28, the Chinese parliament approved a decision to back a national security legislation for Hong Kong that the pro-democracy protesters there and the West suspect as a blow to its freedom and reputation as a global economic hub. It has also increased its naval activities in the Asia Pacific to challenge America as its own navy has been pegged back by the outbreak.
'China will not hesitate to use force'
Li, who was speaking at Beijing’s Great Hall of the People on the 15th anniversary of the Anti-Secession Law which gives Beijing the legal basis to conduct military action against Taiwan if it secedes or tries so, reportedly said: “If the possibility for peaceful reunification is lost, the people’s armed forces will, with the whole nation, including the people of Taiwan, take all necessary steps to resolutely smash any separatist plots or actions.”
“We do not promise to abandon the use of force, and reserve the option to take all necessary measures, to stabilize and control the situation in the Taiwan Strait,” Li, added.
Li Zhanshu, the third-most-senior leader of the ruling Communist Party and head of China’s parliament, also said at the same event that non-peaceful means constituted the last resort. “As long as there is a slightest chance of a peaceful resolution, we will put in hundred times the effort,” he said, but added: “We warn Taiwan’s pro-independence and separatist forces sternly, the path of Taiwan independence leads to a dead end; any challenge to this law will be severely punished.”
The island of Taiwan is located about 80 miles off the Chinese coast across the Taiwan Strait. Though it asserts itself to be independent, rulers in mainland China refuse to do so and have asserted time and again to bring the island under its control. Beijing views Taiwan’s current president, Tsai Ing-wen, the Democratic Progressive Party leader who got elected for a second time in January, with suspicion and accuses her of being a separatist. Tsai, though, says Taiwan is already an independent country. Beijing has also slammed US president Donald Trump recently for supporting Taiwan.
The Taiwan government denounced the remarks made by the Chinese leaders, saying threats of war were a breach of international law and that Taiwan has never been a part of the People’s Republic of China. “Taiwan’s people will never choose dictatorship nor bow to violence,” Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council said. “Force and unilateral decisions are not the way to resolve problems.”
The relation between China and Taiwan is set to worsen more in the wake of Beijing’s moving the national security law on Hong Kong and the latest assertion from the Chinese establishment.