China’s Most Powerful Spy Agency Vows To ‘Resolutely Fight’ Taiwan Independence Ahead Of

China’s Ministry of State Security vowed on Monday to stop “Taiwan independence” in a rare message from the country’s top spy agency, the South China Morning Post reported.

China rejected Taiwan’s elections in January as voters elected William Lai Ching-te, a major member of the Democratic Progressive Party, as the next president of the island. Weeks ahead of Ching-te’s inauguration China Minister of State Security Chen Yixin said on Monday that he would ensure the intelligence agency would “resolutely fight any form of Taiwan independence moves, counter interference from foreign forces, and punish Taiwanese spies who act as the vanguard of ‘Taiwan independence’ in accordance with the law,” according to the Post.

Beijing views Taiwan as a rogue territory that needs to be reunited with the mainland, demanding other nations view the island similarly. Though China claims it wants any reunification to be done through peaceful means, it has not ruled out invading Taiwan and taking the territory by force.

“[We must] try our utmost to promote reunification, strengthen the power of patriotic and pro-unification forces, and broaden the public opinion base for peaceful reunification,” Yixin wrote in an article on Monday, calling on all of Beijing’s secret service branches to “help advance the reunification of China”  according to the Post.

It is the second time the Ministry of State Security has issued such a warning since Ching-te won Taiwan’s presidential elections, writing in an article in January that it would “strike to curb the ‘Taiwan independence forces’” and accusing the island’s intelligence agencies of being “hitmen,” according to the Post.

Ching-te was the favored candidate in Taiwan’s elections in January and has promised to uphold the democratic values of the current ruling party. Beijing has repeatedly referred to Ching-te as a “stubborn separatist,” according to the Post.

Chinese President Xi Jinping said earlier in April that he looked forward to China’s upcoming “family reunion” with Taiwan, warning that no one could stand in Beijing’s way.

The U.S. has positioned additional naval forces in the Taiwan region in recent weeks amid concerns about China’s hostilities toward the island. Though the U.S. maintains a “One China” policy and does not view Taiwan as independent, it has a strong relationship with the island and routinely provides it with military aid.

The State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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