The speech took place to acknowledge the 40th anniversary of a the “Message to Compatriots in Taiwan,” a crucial policy statement issued on Jan. 1, 1979 by the National People’s Congress that helped lead to a rapprochement between Mainland China and Taiwan.
Xi’s speech sent a stern warning to those that advocate for Taiwan’s independence, including Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen, who is up for re-election in January 2020, and her supporters.
“It is a historical and legal fact, that Taiwan is part of China and the two sides across Taiwan Straits belong to one and the same China, can never be altered by anyone or any force,” said Xi.
Moreover, Xi said that reunification will be driven by the “tide of the time that can never be stopped by anyone or any force,” said Xi.
This anniversary isn’t the only one that this year brings. 2019 is a year packed with significant anniversaries for China.
June 5 will mark 30 years since China’s bloody crackdown on pro-democracy protests in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square. Chinese authorities have consistently banned any public event that commemorates the day, but vigils attended by tens of thousands have taken place in the past in Hong Kong and Taiwan.
October 1 commemorates 70 years since Mao Zedong’s founding of the People’s Republic. The declaration of the birth of the republic signified the end to years of bloody conflict between Mao’s communist troops and the those that backed Nationalist Chinese leader Chiang Kai-Shek.