China “does not need to use force” in order to achieve its desired “reunification” with Taiwan, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday. Chinese President Xi Jinping last week vowed to realize his aim of bringing the democratically run island nation of 24 million people under Beijing’s control by peaceful means, following a week of simmering tensions in the region.
China sees Taiwan as a breakaway province, while Taiwan has expressed a desire to pursue formal independence, having ruled itself since splitting from the mainland in 1949 following a protracted civil war.
Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen responded in a speech Sunday, announcing that her government would invest in bolstering its military capabilities in order to “demonstrate our determination to defend ourselves.”
Speaking to CNBC’s Hadley Gamble at the Russian Energy Week conference in Moscow Wednesday, Putin pointed to Xi’s comments suggesting the possibility of a peaceful unification, and China’s “philosophy of statehood,” to suggest that there is no threat of military confrontation.