Chinese President Xi Jinping warned Taiwan Tuesday of a renewed push for unification, vowing that efforts to resist this would face “the punishment of history.”
Beijing regards the island, which has been self-ruled since the end of the Chinese civil war in 1949, as a breakaway province.
Xi, recently emboldened by the removal of the two-term limit on the presidency, delivered the speech at the closing session of the National People’s Congress in Beijing, demanding a “peaceful reunification of the motherland.”
“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 to loud applause.
“Any actions and tricks to split China are doomed to failure and will meet with the people’s condemnation and the punishment of history.”
Xi’s speech focused on nationalistic themes, telling assembled delegates that the “rejuvenation of the Chinese nation has become the biggest dream of the Chinese people.”
“We are resolved to fight the bloody battle against our enemies ... with a strong determination to take our place in the world,” he said.
The status of Taiwan is a hotbutton issue for China, with Beijing growing more anxious since the 2016 election of Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen from the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party — although Tsai has said she will not change the status quo.
China has also been rattled by U.S. President Donald Trump’s recent moves to encourage senior U.S. officials to meet with their counterparts in Taiwan. The United States, which switched its diplomatic recognition of China from Taipei to Beijing in 1979, does not have formal ties with Taiwan, but is its key military backer.
Xi’s warning came as reports emerged that his government was building one of the world’s most powerful propaganda apparatuses to boost its global image.
Citing an anonymous source, Bloomberg reported that the new broadcaster will be called “Voice of China,” and will be created through merging the state-controlled networks China Central Television, China Radio International and China National Radio.
The source said the move was being made to boost the Chinese government’s ability to shape public opinion on the world stage.
Cover image: Chinese President Xi Jinping delivers a speech during the closing session of the National People's Congress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on March 20, 2018. (NICOLAS ASFOURI/AFP/Getty Images)
This article originally appeared on VICE News US.