China warns of ‘fight to the finish’ if confronted over Taiwan

The Chinese government has warned it is prepared to confront the US over Taiwan and labelled the self-ruling island a "wanderer".

In a speech, Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Beijing "will fight to the finish" if challenged by the US over the democratically-governed island.

Speaking in Beijing yesterday, Mr Wang said the cause of current tensions was the Taiwan government's attempts to "rely on the United States for independence", Reuters reports.

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Taiwan is a flourishing democracy but the mainland's ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) continues to view the island as an inseparable part of its territory – despite having never controlled it.

Mr Wang reiterated China's goal of bringing Taiwan under control of the mainland government.

He said Taiwan was a "wanderer" that will eventually return home and not a chess piece to be played.

"Taiwan is a wanderer who will eventually come home, not a chess piece to be used by others. China must and will be reunified," Mr Wang said.

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Taiwan and mainland China have been separately governed since the Nationalists retreated to the island at the end of the Chinese civil war more than 70 years ago.

Tensions between China and the US over Taiwan reached new heights this year.

Chinese naval exercises have been held in waters around the island and a record number Chinese military aircraft have flown near Taiwan.

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Mr Wang said the US and other western nations were attempting to "use Taiwan to control China".

In response to this, Beijing had taken "forceful countermeasures" to "shock the arrogance" of those who seek Taiwan's formal independence, he said.

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Taiwan authorities responded to Mr Wang's speech by insisting only its citizens have the right to decide the island's future.

Its China-policymaking Mainland Affairs Council said the island had never been a part of the People's Republic of China.

"It is neither a wanderer nor a chess piece," it said in a statement.

"Only the 23 million people of Taiwan have the right to decide Taiwan's future, and absolutely will not accept a path laid out by an autocratic political system."

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