Xi vows China and Taiwan will "surely be reunified" in New Year's speech
In an ominous start to 2024, Chinese President Xi Jinping said in his New Year's address that "reunification" with Taiwan is inevitable — a stronger tone than he used last year.
Why it matters: Beijing claims the self-governing island and its recent military exercises and build-up have raised alarms over a potential invasion. With President Biden vowing to defend Taiwan, that scenario could lead to a superpower confrontation.
What he's saying: "The reunification of the motherland is a historical inevitability," Xi said.
- The official English translation used a simpler phrase: "China will surely be reunified."
Between the lines: Xi has repeatedly insisted that unification is inevitable, by force if necessary.
- His latest comments come with Taiwan in the middle of a presidential election campaign that's been dominated by the issue of Taiwan-China relations.
The other side: Outgoing President Tsai Ing-wen, who has strengthened ties with Washington and at times enraged Beijing, warned against interference in the election in her own New Year's address.
- A win by Lai Ching-te of the ruling DPP would further solidify the U.S.-Taiwan relationship but enrage the Chinese government, Axios' Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian writes.
- While Lai leads in the polls, Hou Yu-ih of the opposition KMT — which advocates dialogue with Beijing — has narrowed the gap ahead of the Jan. 13 vote, per the Economist's poll tracker.
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