UNITED NATIONS - China underscored its commitment Saturday to its claim to Taiwan, telling world leaders that anyone who gets in the way of its determination to reunify with the self-governing island would be "crushed by the wheels of history."
"Only when China is fully reunified can there be true peace across the Taiwan Strait," Wang Yi, China's foreign minister, said at the U.N. General Assembly. He said Beijing would "take the most forceful steps to oppose external interference."
China vehemently defends its claim on Taiwan, which separated from the mainland after a 1949 civil war and now functions with its own government. A recent visit by the speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, markedly ratcheted up tensions between Washington and Beijing.
The language, while forceful, was not out of the realm of the normal for China. Taiwan is a core issue of the country's policy, and Wang's appearance - instead of his boss, Chinese leader Xi Jinping - was a signal that the speech was not a major one.