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Opinion

China must avoid provoking US with threats to Taiwan

Beijing's talk of aggressive 'reunification' with island risks military confrontation

| China
Tsai Ing-wen delivers a speech after her inauguration ceremony on May 20: China has succeeded only in hardening her resolve to defend Taiwan's separate identity and democracy.   © Taiwan Presidential Office/AP

Minxin Pei is professor of government at Claremont McKenna College and a nonresident senior fellow of the German Marshall Fund of the United States.

The conspicuous omission of the word "peaceful" from Chinese Premier Li Keqiang's speech to the National People's Congress in late May, when referring to Beijing's resolve to reunify with Taiwan, has caused much consternation among those tracking cross-strait relations. Important speeches are carefully vetted policy pronouncements. Not having "peaceful" in front of "reunification" could not possibly have been a typo.

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