Delegates applaud as Chinese President Xi Jinping delivers his speech during the opening of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on October 18, 2017. Photo: Reuters / Jason Lee

China has the determination, confidence and ability to defeat any activities related to Taiwan independence, Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China, said on Wednesday.

“We safeguard our country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity with determination and never tolerate any separation of our land from our country,” Xi said in a speech to the party’s 19th National Congress on Wednesday.

“We will not allow anyone, any organization, any political party to split our country at any time in any form,” he said in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.

Xi used those strong words against Taiwan independence after Tsai Ing-wen, who was elected president of the island in May 2016, has taken an ambiguous stand on the “1992 Consensus”, in which semi-official representatives from the two sides of the Taiwan Strait outlined the “One China Principle”.

“The One China Principle is the political foundation of cross Strait relations,” Xi said. If Taiwan agrees with the historical fact of the 1992 Consensus, its political parties and organizations will be allowed to communicate with their mainland counterparts freely, he said.

People on the mainland and in Taiwan share the same fate and close family ties, Xi said. “We respect the existing social system in Taiwan and the way of living of the Taiwanese and are willing to share the business opportunities on the mainland with them.”

Peaceful reunification of Taiwan with the mainland and long-term prosperity in Hong Kong and Macau are prerequisites for the great rise of the Chinese nationality, Xi said in his three-hour speech.

The central government will continue the “one country, two systems” principle in Hong Kong and Macau and ensure that the policy will not be changed or distorted, he said. Beijing will hold on tightly to its full jurisdiction over the two special administrative regions, he added.

“One country, two systems” is a political principle proposed by late Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping in the early 1980s to lure Taiwan toward reunification with the mainland. It has been implemented in Hong Kong, a former British colony, since 1997 and in Macau, a former Portuguese colony, since 1999.

A phone call between Donald Trump and Tsai last December created a shuffle in the Beijing-Washington relationship as the US president-elect claimed that it was natural for his country to communicate with Taiwan, which is a buyer of its weapons.

Trump will purportedly visit mainland China next month as a part of his first Asia tour after winning the US presidential election last year.

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