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Speech at the Meeting Marking the 40th Anniversary of the Issuance of the Message to Compatriots in Taiwan


Xi Jinping delivered this important address on the 40th anniversary of the 1979 “Message to Taiwan Compatriots,” which the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress published when the United States and PRC established diplomatic relations.

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Comrades, my compatriots, and friends,


Today, we are meeting here to solemnly commemorate the 40th anniversary of the issuance of the Message to Compatriots in Taiwan by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress. As a new year begins, on behalf of the people on the mainland, I extend sincere greetings and best wishes to our compatriots in Taiwan.


It has been 70 years since Taiwan and the mainland were separated. The emergence and evolution of the Taiwan question has, since China entered the modern times, been inextricably interwoven with the history of the Chinese nation. The Opium War of 1840 and ensuing wars of aggression launched by Western powers plunged China into an anguished state of turmoil and foreign threat, with its lands torn apart, and Taiwan fell under foreign occupation that was to last half a century. Wave upon wave, the Chinese people were engaged in an epic struggle to resist foreign invasion, liberate the Chinese nation, and realize the country’s reunification. Our compatriots in Taiwan made a huge contribution to this struggle. In 1945, together with peoples around the world, the Chinese people won victory in the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression, a part of the global War against Fascism. Taiwan was thus recovered and returned to China. It was not long, however, before the two sides of the Taiwan Straits fell into a special state of protracted political confrontation due to the civil war in China and the interference of foreign forces.


Since 1949, the Communist Party of China, the Chinese government, and the Chinese people have endeavored to pursue the historic mission of resolving the Taiwan question and realizing China’s complete reunification. Working with our compatriots in Taiwan, we have de-escalated tense confrontation across the Taiwan Straits, improved cross-Straits relations, and set out on a path of peaceful development and continually made breakthroughs in cross-Straits relations.


Over the past 70 years, we have, responding to the longing of people on both sides of the Taiwan Straits, ended the absence of contact between the two sides. We have achieved overall direct two-way “three links” (mail, business and transport) and have initiated substantial exchanges, communication, and cooperation between the two sides. Cross-Straits exchanges and cooperation have steadily expanded and grown increasingly closer, and mutual affinity has deepened. Our compatriots in Taiwan have made a major contribution to the mainland’s reform and opening up and they in turn have also shared the mainland’s development opportunities.


Over the past 70 years, we have, acting in a spirit of seeking common ground while setting aside differences and on the basis of the one-China principle, enabled the two sides to reach the “1992 Consensus” that “both sides of the Taiwan Straits belong to one China and will work together toward national reunification.” The two sides have thus initiated consultations and negotiation and promoted cross-Straits party-to-party exchanges. We have opened up a path for promoting the peaceful development of cross-Straits relations and realized a historic meeting between leaders of both sides, thus elevating cross-Straits political interactions to a new height.


Over the past 70 years, we have, keeping in mind the changes over time in the growth of cross-Straits relations, proposed the policy of seeking a peaceful solution to the Taiwan question and the well-conceived concept of “one country, two systems”, and established the fundamental guideline of “peaceful reunification and one country, two systems”. On this basis, we have formulated a fundamental strategy of upholding the principle of “one country, two systems” and promoting national reunification. With this we have responded to the call of our time, namely, to promote, in the new era, the peaceful development of cross-Straits relations and unite our compatriots in Taiwan to strive for our country’s rejuvenation and peaceful reunification.


Over the past 70 years, we have, holding high the banner of peace, development, cooperation, and mutual benefit, and on the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, forged friendship and strengthened cooperation with other countries and consolidated the international community’s commitment to the one-China principle. More and more countries and people have gained a better understanding of National reunification endeavor and given their support to it.


Over the past 70 years, we have, bearing in mind the overall and long-term interests of the Chinese nation, stood firm in safeguarding China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Rallying all the Chinese people around us, we have resolutely defeated all attempts to create “two Chinas,” “one China, one Taiwan,” or “Taiwan independence,” and have achieved major victories in the fight against the separatist activities for “Taiwan independence”.


As the evolution of cross-Straits relations attests, the historical and legal fact that Taiwan is part of China and the two sides belong to one and same China can never be changed by any force or anyone. We people on both sides of the Taiwan Straits are Chinese and share a natural affinity and national identity built of kinship and mutual assistance, a fact that can never be altered by any force or anyone. The tide of our times — the cross-Straits situation moving toward peace and stability and cross-Straits relations continuing to move forward — is a tide that cannot be stopped by any force or anyone. The historical trend toward a stronger China, national rejuvenation, and reunification cannot be stopped by any force or anyone!


Comrades, my compatriots, and friends,


By reviewing the past, we can draw inspiration for both the present and the future. Our country must be reunified, and will surely be reunified. This is a historical conclusion drawn from the evolution of cross-Straits relations over the past seven decades; it is also critical to the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation in the new era. We Chinese on both sides of the Straits, all of us Chinese at home and abroad, should jointly uphold the national interest, follow the historical trend, and work together for the peaceful development of cross-Straits relations and China’s peaceful reunification.


First, we should work together to promote China’s rejuvenation and achieve its peaceful reunification. The rejuvenation of the Chinese nation and reunification of our country are a surging popular trend. It is where the greater national interest lies, and it is what the people desire. We face each other just across a strip of water, yet our two sides are still far apart. The fact that until now, we have not yet been reunified is a wound left by history on the Chinese nation. We Chinese on both sides should work together to achieve reunification and heal this wound. All our compatriots in Taiwan are members of the Chinese nation and should be proud of their Chinese identity, fully consider the position and role of Taiwan in national rejuvenation and pursue both the complete reunification and rejuvenation of China as an honorable cause.


The future of Taiwan lies in national reunification and the wellbeing of the people in Taiwan hinges on the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. The peaceful development of cross-Straits relations is the right path for safeguarding peace, promoting common development and benefiting people on both sides. Thus, the peaceful development of cross-Straits relations is something people on both sides should jointly promote, safeguard, and enjoy. The Chinese Dream is a dream shared by people on both sides of the Taiwan Straits; only China’s rejuvenation and prosperity can deliver a life of plenty and happiness to us Chinese on both sides. As the Chinese nation moves toward rejuvenation, our compatriots in Taiwan will certainly not miss out. We people on both sides should join hands to fulfill the Chinese Dream, shoulder the responsibility and share the glory of national rejuvenation. The Taiwan question originated in a weak and ravaged China, and it will definitely end with China’s rejuvenation!


Second, we should explore a “two systems” solution to the Taiwan question and enrich practical efforts toward peaceful reunification. The concept of “peaceful reunification and one country, two systems” is the best approach to realizing national reunification. It embodies the Chinese wisdom that we thrive by embracing each other, gives full account to Taiwan’s reality and is conducive to the long-term stability in Taiwan after reunification.


Difference in systems is not an obstacle to reunification; it is certainly no excuse for separation. The principle of “one country, two systems” was proposed precisely to accommodate Taiwan’s actual conditions and to safeguard the interests and wellbeing of our compatriots in Taiwan. In terms of how the principle should be carried out in Taiwan, we will fully consider Taiwan’s reality, give full consideration to the views and proposals from all walks of life on both sides and fully accommodate the interests and sentiments of our compatriots in Taiwan. Provided that China’s sovereignty, security, and development interests are ensured, after peaceful reunification, Taiwan’s social system and its way of life will be fully respected, and the private property, religious beliefs, and lawful rights and interests of our compatriots in Taiwan will be fully protected.


We people on both sides of the Taiwan Straits are of one family; issues between our two sides are domestic affairs, which, as such, should naturally be discussed and resolved by family members. Peaceful reunification means achieving it through consultation and discussion as equals. The long-standing political differences between the two sides are the root cause that affects the steady growth of cross-Straits relations, but we should not allow this problem to be passed down from one generation to the next. We both sides must live up to our responsibility to our nation and to future generations; we should put our heads together, show creativity, and reduce difference and seek common ground. Doing so will enable us to resolve the political antagonism at an early date, ensure lasting peace across the Taiwan Straits, and agree on a vision for national reunification, so that our future generations can live and grow up in a shared home with peace, stability, prosperity, and dignity.


On the basis of adhering to the one-China principle, there will be no obstacles in exchanges between political parties and groups in Taiwan and the mainland. Only when dialogue replaces confrontation, cooperation replaces disputes, and win-win mindset replaces zero-sum mentality, will cross-Straits relations move steadily and progress far. We are willing to engage in broad exchanges of views with all parties, groups, or individuals in Taiwan regarding political issues between the two sides and the promotion of China’s peaceful reunification, in order to forge social consensus and advance political negotiation.


Here we wish to make a solemn proposal: on the common political foundation of adhering to the “1992 Consensus” and opposing “Taiwan independence,” all political parties and all sectors of society on both sides recommend representatives who will engage in extensive and in-depth democratic consultations on cross-Straits relations and the future of the nation and work toward institutional arrangements for promoting the peaceful development of cross-Straits relations.


Third, we should adhere to the one-China principle and ensure the prospects for peaceful reunification. Although our two sides have yet to be reunified, the sovereignty and territory of China has never been severed and the fact that the mainland and Taiwan belong to one and same China has never changed. The one-China principle is the political foundation of cross-Straits relations. When we adhere to this principle, cross-Straits relations will improve and grow and our compatriots in Taiwan will benefit. However, if we deviate from it, cross-Straits relations will become strained and volatile, and the interests of our compatriots in Taiwan will be harmed.


China’s reunification is a historical trend and the right path, while “Taiwan independence” goes against the tide of history, and it is a path to nowhere. Our compatriots in Taiwan have a glorious patriotic tradition and share a close kinship with us. We remain committed to the principle of placing our hopes on the people of Taiwan. We will continue, as ever, to respect, care about, work with, and rely on them, and we will do our utmost to help them overcome difficulties and meet their needs. Our compatriots in Taiwan, regardless of political affiliation, religious belief, social status, or origin of birth, whether civilian or military: You must see that “Taiwan independence” will only bring disaster. You should resolutely oppose “Taiwan independence” and join hands with us to pursue the bright prospects of peaceful reunification. We are willing to create vast space for peaceful reunification; but we will definitely not leave any room for separatist activities aimed at “Taiwan independence” in any form.


We Chinese should not fight each other. We will work with the greatest sincerity and exert utmost efforts to achieve peaceful reunification, because this works best for the people on both sides and for our whole nation. We do not renounce the use of force and reserve the option of taking all necessary measures. This is to guard against external interference and a tiny number of separatists and their separatist activities for “Taiwan independence”. It does in no way target our compatriots in Taiwan. We people on both sides should work together to pursue peace, protect peace, and enjoy peace.


Fourth, we should deepen integrated development of the two sides and cement the foundation for peaceful reunification. People on both sides of the Taiwan Straits share the bonds of kinship. Just as loved ones wish each other well, we Chinese should help each other. We treat our compatriots in Taiwan as equals, and will continue paving the way for them to share first the mainland’s development opportunities and ensure that our compatriots and enterprises from Taiwan receive the same treatment as those from the mainland, thus giving them a greater sense of fulfillment. After the peaceful reunification, Taiwan will enjoy lasting peace and the people there will live in peace and contentment. Backed by a strong motherland, our compatriots in Taiwan will enjoy better life, have more opportunities for development, and they will have stronger confidence, greater sense of security and dignity in the international community.


We should take active steps to institutionalize cross-Straits economic cooperation and create a common market for the two sides, so as to increase momentum for development and vitality of cooperation and strengthen the economy of the Chinese nation. We on the two sides should promote connectivity wherever necessary, including trade and economic cooperation, infrastructure building, energy and resources development, and sharing industrial standards. We can start by supplies of water, electricity, gas, and construction of sea-crossing bridges from coastal areas in Fujian province to Kinmen and Mazu in Taiwan. We should promote cooperation in culture, education, and healthcare, and the sharing of social security and public resources, and we should support neighboring areas or areas with similar conditions on the two sides in providing equal, universal, and accessible basic public services.


Fifth, we should forge closer bonds of heart and mind between people on both sides and strengthen our joint commitment to peaceful reunification. The soul of a nation is molded and cast by its culture. We on the mainland and in Taiwan share the same roots, culture, and ethnic identity; it is Chinese culture that has instilled vitality in us and given us a sense of belonging. The key to kinship lies in mutual understanding. No matter the extent of interference and obstructions we may encounter, exchanges and cooperation between our people on both sides must never be diminished, suspended, or stopped.


We people on both sides should together pass on the fine traditional Chinese culture and promote its evolution and growth in new and creative ways. We should engage in exchanges and mutual learning, promote dialogue and inclusiveness, enhance empathy, deepen mutual understanding, strengthen mutual trust, and increase our shared sense of identity. We should maintain our bonds of kinship and shared values, adhere to the right approach to our history, our nation, and our country in raising awareness of younger generations, and keep alive the great spirit of our nation. Between loved ones, there is no knot of perception that cannot be untied. With perseverance, we are sure to forge closer bonds of heart and mind between people on both sides.


Supporting and pursuing reunification is a righteous cause of the Chinese nation, and this commitment should be recognized by all of us Chinese. Our great country will always stand firm behind patriots working for reunification. It is our sincere hope that all our compatriots in Taiwan will treasure peace as they do the gift of sight, pursue reunification with the same zeal with which they pursue a better life, and play an active part in advancing the just cause of China’s peaceful reunification.


The young are the hope of the country and the future of the nation. Young people on both sides should shoulder responsibility, forge solidarity and friendship, and work together for a better future. Young people from Taiwan are welcome to pursue and fulfill their dreams on the mainland. We Chinese on both sides must be united and work together to seek happiness for ourselves and create a bright future for our nation.


Comrades, my compatriots, and friends,


Over the years, our compatriots in Hong Kong, Macao, and overseas have shown understanding for and supported the great cause of reunification, and have made a positive contribution to this cause. I hope that they will remain committed and further contribute to the peaceful development of cross-Straits relations and China’s peaceful reunification.


Comrades, my compatriots, and friends,


There is only one China in the world. The one-China principle is a generally recognized norm in international relations, and it represents a general consensus of the international community. The international community has extended understanding and support for the Chinese people’s just cause of opposing “Taiwan independence” separatist activities and striving for national reunification; the Chinese government expresses its appreciation and gratitude for such understanding and support. The affairs of us Chinese must be decided by ourselves. The Taiwan question is an internal affair that involves China’s core interests and the Chinese people’s national sentiments, and no external interference in this issue will be tolerated.


China’s reunification will not harm any other country’s legitimate interests, including its economic interests in Taiwan. On the contrary, it will bring the world more opportunities for development, create more positive momentum for the prosperity and stability of the Asia Pacific and the rest of the world. Indeed, it will make greater contribution to building a community with a shared future for mankind, to the cause of global peace and development, and to the cause of human progress.


Comrades, my compatriots, and friends,


We cannot choose our history, but we can steer the current course and shape the future. The new era is an era for the Chinese nation to achieve major development and make major accomplishment; it is also an era for the people on both sides of the Taiwan Straits to achieve major development and make major accomplishment. The path ahead may not be all smooth, but when we stand and work together, we can surely create a promising future for the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, and we can surely achieve the great cause of national reunification!


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习近平 (Xi Jinping). "Speech at the Meeting Marking the 40th Anniversary of the Issuance of the Message to Compatriots in Taiwan [习近平:在《告台湾同胞书》发表40周年纪念会上的讲话]". CSIS Interpret: China, original work published in Xinhua News Agency [新华社], January 2, 2019

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