China has warned Taiwan to drop any thoughts of independence, and vowed to re-claim the island by peaceful means. President Hu Jintao made his comments at the start of the five-yearly Communist Party Congress. Hu said the run-up to next years Beijing Olympic Games could see tensions rise in the region. He said China would make every effort for peaceful reunification, but would not allow the permanent separation of Taiwan from the mainland.
His speech was greeted with the expected applause from delegates. China has claimed sovereignty over Taiwan since their split during the civil war in 1949. The island plans to hold a referendum on independence next year, and to ask to become a member of the United Nations. But that’s doomed to failure, as China’s veto on the UN Security Council will certainly dash Taiwan’s ambitions.