Date
22 January 2017
President Xi Jinping (right) welcomes Taiwan Nationalist Party leader Eric Chu to the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. Photo: Channel News Asia
President Xi Jinping (right) welcomes Taiwan Nationalist Party leader Eric Chu to the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. Photo: Channel News Asia

Taiwan party leader affirms eventual reunion with China

Taiwan’s nationalists have reaffirmed their support for eventual unification with the mainland.

This comes after a meeting Monday between Nationalist Party leader Eric Chu and Chinese President Xi Jinping, Associated Press reported Tuesday.

Chu, a likely presidential candidate next year, also affirmed Taiwan’s desire to join the proposed Chinese-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank during the meeting in Beijing.

China claims Taiwan as its own territory and does not want the island to join using a name that might imply it is an independent country.

Chu’s comments during his meeting with Xi were carried live on Hong Kong-based broadcaster Phoenix Television.

The nationalists were driven to Taiwan by Mao Zedong’s communists during the Chinese civil war in 1949, leading to decades of hostility between the sides.

Chu, who took over as party leader in January, is the third Nationalist Party chairman to visit the mainland and the first since 2009.

Relations between the communist-ruled mainland and the self-governing democratic island of Taiwan began to warm in the 1990s, partly out of their common opposition to Taiwan’s formal independence from China, a position advocated by the island’s Democratic Progressive Party.

Despite increasingly close economic ties, the prospect of political unification has grown increasingly unpopular in Taiwan, especially with younger voters.

Opposition to the nationalists’ pro-China policies was seen as a driver behind heavy local electoral defeats for the party last year that led to Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou resigning as party chairman.

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