BEIJING (Kyodo) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday called for unity of all citizens on the eve of the 70th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party-led People's Republic of China, with political unrest lingering in Hong Kong.
"Unity is iron and steel," Xi said in a speech at a reception held at Beijing's Great Hall of the People to mark the Oct. 1 National Day, emphasizing the importance of the "one country, two systems" principle that mainland China has been sticking to.
Since June, there have been protests almost every weekend in Hong Kong, many turning violent, which were initially triggered by a now-suspended extradition bill that would have allowed Hong Kong citizens to be sent to mainland China for trial.
The protesters are making five demands, which include electoral reforms and independent inquiry into alleged police brutality.
Without elaborating how to respond to such demands, Xi said, "We are confident" that Hong Kong "will prosper and progress alongside the mainland and embrace an even brighter future."
Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam attended the reception held in the mainland's capital. Pro-democracy protests, meanwhile, are expected to escalate on Tuesday in the special administrative region of China.
As for self-governing, democratic Taiwan, Xi said, "The complete reunification of the motherland is an inevitable trend," adding, "No one and no force can ever stop it."
Taiwan and mainland China have been governed separately since they split amid a civil war in 1949. As China has considered Taiwan a renegade province awaiting reunification, Beijing has recently endeavored to undermine Taipei's quest for international recognition.
On Tuesday in Beijing, China is scheduled to hold a large-scale military parade.