Beijing will “not renounce the use of force’’ in its plan to reunite with Taiwan, according to a defence white paper released on Wednesday.
It also warns against independence efforts in the regions of Tibet and Xinjiang.
“Taiwan’s complete reunification with China is in China’s fundamental interests and essential to realising national rejuvenation,’’ the paper said.
“China must be and will be reunited.
“We make no promise to renounce the use of force and reserve the option of taking all necessary measures.’’
Taiwan is a self-governed democracy that China sees as a renegade province.
The white paper said the threat was not directed at Taiwan compatriots but at “the interference of external forces’’ and at separatist activities.
Taiwan on Wednesday condemned Beijing.
“We urge Beijing to renounce the use of force and other irrational malicious means in order to improve the relations across the Taiwan Strait and rationally handle Hong Kong issues,’’ Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council, which oversees the island’s policies on China, said in a statement late Wednesday.
The council stressed that the biggest threat to regional stability is Beijing’s refusal to renounce the use of force against Taiwan.
It also said China’s provocative behaviour towards Taiwan and possible plans to send Chinese military troops to the semi-autonomous region of Hong Kong to maintain public order there had violated the principles of peace and challenged regional safety.
A Chinese Defence Ministry spokesman on Wednesday said that Beijing was monitoring protests in Hong Kong and quoted a law that allows for the Hong Kong government to request the assistance of mainland Chinese armed forces.
Hundreds of thousands of Hong Kong people have for the past few weeks demonstrated against a controversial bill to allow the extradition of criminal suspects to mainland China.
The Taiwan council also called on the international community to jointly boycott Chinese military expansion.
The U.S. this month approved $2 billion worth of arms sales to Taiwan, drawing Beijing’s ire.
The U.S. is undermining global strategic stability, the defence paper said, adding that Washington has adopted “unilateral policies” and “has provoked and intensified competition among major countries.’’
Cracking down against proponents of separatist movements in Tibet and Xinjiang is also among Beijing’s main defence goals.
Regarding territorial tensions in the South China Sea between China and its South-East Asian neighbours, the paper said the situation was generally stable and improving.
It outlined the need for “greater efforts’’ required to modernise the People’s Liberation Army, which China says lags “far behind” the world’s leading militaries.
Beijing aims to complete the military’s modernisation by 2035 and fully transform its armed forces into a world-class force by the middle of the century.
In recent years, China has cut its military personnel by 300,000, maintaining two million troops, which still makes it the world’s largest military.