China rejects Taiwan’s call for coexistence, says ‘reunification inevitable’

China on Wednesday pledged to stick to “one country, two systems” and “not leave any space for Taiwan independence separatist activities”

In this file photo, Ma Xiaoguang, spokesman of China's Taiwan Affairs Office, takes questions at a press conference at the Taiwan Affairs Office in Beijing, Wednesday, May 25, 2016. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

TAIPEI (The China Post) — China’s Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) responded to President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) call for coexistence on Wednesday, saying that Beijing would stick to “one country, two systems” and “not leave any space for Taiwan independence separatist activities.”

“Reunification is a historical inevitability of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation,” TAO Spokesman Ma Xiaoguang said in a statement. “We have the firm will, full confidence, and sufficient ability to defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” he added.

In this photo released by the Taiwan Presidential Office, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, delivers a speech after her inauguration ceremony at a government guest house in Taipei, Taiwan on Wednesday, May 20, 2020. Tsai has been inaugurated for a second term amid increasing pressure from China on the self-governing island democracy it claims as its own territory. (Taiwan Presidential Office via AP)

Earlier in the day, President Tsai Ing-wen said that Taiwan cannot accept becoming part of China under its “one country, two systems” framework in a strong rejection of China’s sovereignty claim, but called for talks so that both sides could “coexist.”

In a speech after her inauguration ceremony, Tsai said relations between Taiwan and China had reached a historical turning point in which “both sides have a duty to find a way to coexist over the long term and prevent the intensification of antagonism and differences.”

President Tsai delivers her speech in front of a socially distanced audience of officials and diplomats. (CNA)

“Here, I want to reiterate the words ‘peace, parity, democracy, and dialogue’. We will not accept the Beijing authorities’ use of ‘one country, two systems’ to downgrade Taiwan and undermine the cross-strait status quo. We stand fast by this principle,” Tsai added.

China refers to the “one country, two systems” policy that supposedly guarantees a high degree of autonomy to run the former British colony of Hong Kong, which returned to Chinese rule in 1997. It has offered it to Taiwan, though all major Taiwanese parties have rejected it.