BEIJING -- President Xi Jinping sent a blunt message to independence movements in Taiwan and Hong Kong during his keynote speech to the Communist Party National Congress on Wednesday, vowing never to let China be divided again.
The "historical tragedy of national division" will not reoccur, pledged Xi, who also holds the title of Communist Party general secretary.
"We have the resolve, the confidence, and the ability to defeat separatist attempts for 'Taiwan independence' in any form," he said, taking a jab at Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, who rejects unification. Xi also said that a prerequisite for any talks would be Taiwan's recognition of the so-called 1992 Consensus, in which both parties verbally agreed to the principle that there is only one China.
Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council responded Wednesday that the "One China" principle unilaterally created by Beijing cannot win the support of the Taiwanese public.
Xi also noted the end of the Umbrella Movement to democratize Hong Kong and other protests, saying Beijing holds the right to control the former British territory and Macau because the "one country, two systems" principle is founded on the condition of China's sovereignty over the cities.
"We will remain committed to the policy for the Hong Kong people to govern Hong Kong ... with patriots playing the principal role," Xi added, suggesting that Beijing will allow no pro-independence politicians to take office.
China also will accelerate efforts to become a naval power, said Xi, who praised the country's construction of man-made islands in the South China Sea. China will take a hard diplomatic line on issues in the region, he signaled.