August 1, 2017 / 12:16 AM / 2 months ago

China's military confident, prepared to safeguard sovereignty: paper

FILE PHOTO: Red flags flutter as paramilitary policemen stand guard on the Tiananmen Square near the Great Hall of the People during the closing ceremony of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), in Beijing, March 12, 2014. REUTERS/Petar Kujundzic

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - China’s military is “confident, capable and fully prepared” to protect the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, the state-run China Daily on Tuesday quoted Defence Minister Chang Wanquan as saying in reference to Taiwan.

Despite decades of growing trade across the Taiwan Strait, China has never renounced the use of force, if needed, to gain control of Taiwan, which it considers a breakaway province.

Democratic, self-governed Taiwan has shown no interest in being run by Communist-ruled China.

The People’s Liberation Army is “confident, capable and fully prepared to resolutely safeguard state sovereignty and territorial integrity”, the newspaper quoted Chang as saying on Monday at a reception to mark the 90th anniversary of the military’s founding.

Adherence to the “1992 consensus” between Beijing and Taipei and opposition to Taiwan independence are the “political foundation of peace and development of cross-Straits relations”, Chang said, according to the newspaper.

The “1992 consensus” acknowledges Taiwan and China are part of a single China but allows both to interpret who is the ruler.

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen has angered Beijing by refusing to recognize the “1992 consensus”, as the previous China-friendly Nationalist government did.

The Nationalists fled to Taiwan after their defeat by the Communists in a civil war in 1949.

Reporting by John Ruwitch; Editing by Paul Tait

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