Hong Kong’s leader John Lee has expressed his support for Beijing’s white paper on Taiwan, – the first one since President Xi Jinping took the top job in 2013.

“Chief Executive John Lee welcomed and supported the central government’s publication of ‘The Taiwan Issue and China’s Reunification in the New Era‘ white paper, righteously reiterated to the world the fact and reality that Taiwan is part of China and displaying the central government’s firm stance and policy on reunification,” according to a government statement released on Wednesday.

Chief Executive John Lee. File photo: GovHK.

Lee was cited as saying that while the One Country, Two Systems model had been successfully implemented in Hong Kong, “for a long time, some political forces in Taiwan deliberately twisted, misled and smeared” the model, as well as advocating Taiwan independence.

Lee added that the Hong Kong government would fully support and cooperate with Beijing to take the necessary measures in safeguarding China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

China’s white paper came days after top US politician Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan. In response to the senior US politician’s trip to the self-ruled island, Lee and various government departments issued statements condemning Pelosi’s trip.

Reunifying Taiwan

China’s Taiwan Affairs of the State Council and the State Council Information Office published the white paper on Wednesday. The last time Beijing published a Taiwan-focused document was in February 2000. The first one was released in August 1993.

Taiwan’s flag seen on the top of the National Development Council, Taipei, Taiwan. September 11, 2021. Photo: Walid Berrazeg/HKFP.

The latest white paper stressed that it was “an indisputable fact” that Taiwan is part of China. “Resolving the Taiwan question and realizing China’s complete reunification is a shared aspiration of all the sons and daughters of the Chinese nation… It is also a historic mission of the Communist Party of China (CPC),” the document stated.

‘Will not renounce the use of force’

Beijing accused the West, especially the US, of being an “external interference” and “a prominent obstacle” to Cross-Strait relations. It went on to slam US authorities for saying they remained committed to the “One China” policy, while “their actions contradict their words” – an apparent jab at Pelosi’s high-profile visit.

Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen (right) meets with US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (left) on August 3, 2022. Photo: Wang Yu Ching/Taiwan’s Office of the President.

Foreign interference will not be tolerated and any attempts by “separatist forces” were “bound to fail,” the white paper said. Issued after China’s People’s Liberation Army conducted days of live-fire military drills around Taiwan, the white paper also touched on the potential use of force.

“We will work with the greatest sincerity and exert our utmost efforts to achieve peaceful reunification. But we will not renounce the use of force, and we reserve the option of taking all necessary measures,” it said.

China has long claimed sovereignty over the self-ruled island, a claim disputed by Taiwan.

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Almond Li

Almond Li is a Hong Kong-based journalist who previously worked for Reuters and Happs TV as a freelancer, and as a reporter at Hong Kong International Business Channel, Citizen News and Commercial Radio Hong Kong. She earned her Masters in Journalism at the University of Southern California. She has an interest in LGBT+, mental health and environmental issues.