Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday urged both sides to reach an early consensus on the unification of China and Taiwan and not leave the issue for future generations.
No one or no party can stop the trend toward unification, the Chinese leader said in a speech devoted to Taiwan, calling independence for the self-governing island against history and a dead-end.
"We are willing to create a vast space for peaceful unification, but we will never leave any room for any sort of Taiwan independence separatist activities," he said.
Taiwan and China split in a civil war that brought the Communists to power in China in 1949. The rival Nationalists set up their own government on the island about 160 kilometers off the Chinese mainland.
Xi proposed talks between the two sides to work out "a systematic arrangement for the peaceful development of the cross-strait relationship."
While Xi said that people on both sides want peaceful reunification, it's unclear how his message will be received on the other side of the Taiwan Strait.
Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen said Tuesday that its people want to maintain their self-rule and autonomy.
Xi pledged that unification would be under a one-country, two-system framework that would respect the Taiwanese social system and way of life and guarantee their property rights, religious beliefs and other rights.
"The political disputes that have existed for a long time... affect the healthy and continuous development of the cross-strait relationship and cannot be passed from generation to generation," he said. (AP)