Taiwan says its 23 million people will decide their future

FILE PHOTO: A rainbow is seen behind Taiwanese flag during the National Day celebrations in Taipei, Taiwan, October 10, 2017. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

TAIPEI (Reuters) - Taiwan’s government said on Wednesday that it was “absolutely” the right of Taiwan’s 23 million people to decide their future, after Chinese President Xi Jinping said any attempt to separate the island from China would be thwarted.

The perpetration of Taiwan’s democratic system is a core value of Taiwan’s, the Mainland Affairs Council said in reaction to Xi’s speech.

China considers democratic and self-ruled Taiwan to be a wayward province, to be brought under Beijing’s control by force if necessary.

Reporting by Jessica Macy Yu; Writing by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Robert Birsel