The Latest: Taiwan rejects China's call for unification

Chinese President Xi Jinping, center, listens to a speech during an event to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Message to Compatriots in Taiwan at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2019. Xi urged both sides to reach an early consensus on the unification of China and Taiwan and not leave the issue for future generations. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein, Pool)

BEIJING (AP) — The Latest on China-Taiwan relations (all times local):

4:45 p.m.

Taiwan's leader has rejected the Chinese president's call for unification under a "one country, two systems" approach.

President Tsai Ing-wen said Tuesday that China must face the fact of the existence of the Republic of Taiwan.

She made the statement to news media hours after Chinese President Xi Jinping said in a policy speech on Taiwan that no one can stop the trend toward unification.

One country, two systems refers to a framework similar to Hong Kong in which the territory became part of China but retained a degree of autonomy.

Taiwan and China split in a civil war that brought the Communist Party to power in China in 1949. The rival Nationalists set up their own government on Taiwan, an island 160 kilometers (100 miles) off the Chinese mainland.

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Noon

Chinese President Xi Jinping has urged people on both sides to reach a consensus on the unification of Taiwan and China and not leave the issue for future generations.

Xi said in a speech devoted to Taiwan on Wednesday that no one or no party can stop the trend toward unification, and that independence for the self-governing island is a dead-end.

Taiwan and China split in a civil war that brought the Communist Party to power in China in 1949. The rival Nationalists set up their own government on the island about 160 kilometers (100 miles) off the Chinese mainland.

Taiwan's president said Tuesday that its people want to maintain their autonomy from China.