Xi's latest threat nothing new: German envoy

01/21/2019 03:39 PM
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Thomas Prinz (CNA file photo)
Thomas Prinz (CNA file photo)

Taipei, Jan. 21 (CNA) Chinese President Xi Jinping's (習近平) latest assertion that Beijing does not discount the use of force to reunify with Taiwan was a reiteration of China's long-held position and offered nothing new, Germany's top envoy to Taiwan said Monday.

During his remarks at a press event to unveil a German business confidence survey in Taipei, Thomas Prinz, director general of the German Institute Taipei, commented on the recent exchange of barbs between Xi and his Taiwanese counterpart Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), after Xi reasserted that Beijing retained the right to use force to achieve reunification with Taiwan earlier this month.

Prinz was referring to Xi's comments delivered on Jan. 2 during an address to commemorate the 40th anniversary of China's "Message to Compatriots in Taiwan."

In his speech, Xi also called for unification under the "one country, two systems" formula and defined the 1992 consensus as being based on the "one China" principle.

In response, Tsai said the same day that she has never accepted the so-called "1992 consensus" and would never do so because it is tantamount to the "one China, two systems" formula devised by China to bring Taiwan under its control.

In his address, Prinz said the "battle of words" between leaders on both sides of the Taiwan Strait placed Taiwan under the international media spotlight.

Xi's warning was nothing new as it only reiterated Beijing's threat to use force against Taiwan independence. The "one China, two systems" formula is also nothing new as it is similar to the Hong Kong model, he added.

However, the envoy said Xi's speech placed a relatively new emphasis on "the influence of third parties," an allusion to the United States.

He also noted that despite Xi's threat to use force and push for reunification, the Chinese leader did not mention a timeframe, an indication there is in fact "no urgency" to such a push by Beijing.

"China keeps up its pressure, but there is basically no change in policy (toward Taiwan)," he noted.

Prinz said that he does not expect Beijing to launch a new political initiative against Taiwan with the latter set to hold an election soon. Taiwan will hold a presidential election early 2020.

Prinz's comments came a week after German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas voiced his opposition to China's threat to use military force against Taiwan.

Maas made the remarks in the German national parliament, after Germany-Taiwan Parliamentary Friendship Group Chairman Klaus-Peter Willsch, a Christian Democratic Union lawmaker, asked him about Xi's Jan. 2 speech.

(By Joseph Yeh)


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