Xi warns Taiwan will face “punishment of history” for separatism

President Xi Jinping’s vision of a resurgent Chinese nation raises a huge red flag for democratic rival Taiwan, with the pressure set to rise now Xi has a lifetime to realize his ambitions (AFP)
Updated 20 March 2018
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Xi warns Taiwan will face “punishment of history” for separatism

BEIJING: Chinese President Xi Jinping warned self-ruled Taiwan on Tuesday that it will face the “punishment of history” for any attempt at separatism, offering his strongest warning yet to the island claimed by China as its sacred territory.
Taiwan is one of China’s most sensitive issues and a potentially dangerous military flashpoint.
China’s hostility toward Taiwan has risen since the 2016 election of President Tsai Ing-wen from the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party.
China suspects Tsai wants to push for formal independence, which would cross a red line for Communist Party leaders in Beijing, though Tsai has said she wants to maintain the status quo and is committed to ensuring peace.
China has been infuriated by US President Donald Trump’s signing into law legislation last week that encourages the United States to send senior officials to Taiwan to meet Taiwanese counterparts and vice versa.
The United States does not have formal ties with Taiwan but is required by law to help it with self-defense and is the island’s primary source of weapons.
In a speech at the end of China’s annual session of parliament, Xi told the 3,000-odd delegates that China would push for the “peaceful reunification of the motherland” and work for more Taiwanese to enjoy the opportunities of China’s development.
“It is a shared aspiration of all Chinese people and in their basic interests to safeguard China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and realize China’s complete reunification,” Xi said.
“Any actions and tricks to split China are doomed to failure and will meet with the people’s condemnation and the punishment of history,” he added, to loud applause.
China has the will, confidence and ability to defeat any separatist activities, Xi said.
“The Chinese people share a common belief that it is never allowed and it is absolutely impossible to separate any inch of our great country’s territory from China.”
Proudly democratic Taiwan has shown no interest in being run by autocratic China, and has accused China of not understanding how democracy works, pointing out that Taiwan’s people have the right to decide its future.
The new US law on Taiwan adds to strains between China and the United States over trade, as Trump has enacted tariffs and called for China to reduce its huge trade imbalance with the United States, even while Washington has leaned on Beijing to help resolve tensions with North Korea.
Taiwan has thanked the United States for the law and its support, but its foreign ministry said on Monday there were no plans for any senior leaders, such as the president, to visit the country.
While China’s stepped up military drills around Taiwan over the past year have rattled Taipei, Xi reiterated claims that China’s rise was not a threat to any country, though China considers Taiwan to be merely a Chinese province not a nation.
“Only those who in the habit of threatening others will see everyone else as a threat,” Xi said.


India’s ruling party seeks to energise workers after state losses

“We realize that rural distress and employment generation are the key issues and we are working on them,” said BJP spokesman Gopal Krishna Agarwal. (AFP)
Updated 9 min 50 sec ago
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India’s ruling party seeks to energise workers after state losses

  • The government announces so-called minimum support prices for most crops to set a benchmark

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling BJP will try to canvass and galvanize its activists across India before a general election due next May, after losing power in three heartland rural states, senior leaders said after a meeting on Thursday.
Disgruntled voters blamed the slow pace of job creation and weak farm prices for the Hindu nationalist party’s defeat in the states, two of which it had ruled for three straight terms.
“We realize that rural distress and employment generation are the key issues and we are working on them,” said BJP spokesman Gopal Krishna Agarwal, who attended the meeting. “They’ll have to be tackled, and we will take suggestions from wherever needed.”
The Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) various wings — representing women, farmers, lower castes, Muslims and young members — will all hold deliberations after losses in the supposed stronghold states of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh.
“These meetings are aimed at preparing for the 2019 election and spreading the party’s message in various sections of society,” Bhupender Yadav, a BJP national general secretary, said after the meeting, which he said had been scheduled before the state election results came out on Tuesday.
He also announced that a planned national convention would be held in New Delhi on Jan. 11 and 12.
Senior BJP minister Nitin Gadkari told the ET Now business channel on Thursday that the agriculture sector may have been neglected under their government.

JOBS AND FARM PRICES
Agarwal, a chartered accountant who is also a director in a state-run bank, said increasing lending for job-generating small businesses was a key focus, as was enhancing procurement of grain from farmers by government agencies at state-mandated prices so there are no distress sales.
The government announces so-called minimum support prices for most crops to set a benchmark, but state agencies mainly buy limited quantities of staples such as rice and wheat at those prices, restricting benefits of higher prices to only around 7 percent of India’s 263 million farmers, according to various studies.
Following the state election setbacks, Modi’s government is expected to announce loan waivers worth billions of dollars to woo farmers, government sources told Reuters this week.
Agarwal said the party’s loss in Madhya Pradesh, known for multiplying agriculture production under three BJP governments, has reinforced its realization that higher output helps consumers by bringing down prices, but can badly hurt farmers.
“The focus has so far been on consumers, like importing onions when prices shot up,” Agarwal said. “Now we need to look at the producers, not just the consumers.”
He also said there was a case for fiscal stimulus, given that inflation fell to a 17-month low in November. Food inflation sank to a negative 2.61 percent from a negative 0.86 percent in October, according to official data released on Wednesday.