SINGAPORE (Reuters) – China will struggle anybody who tries to intervene in its “reunification” with Taiwan, Defense Minister Wei Fenghe mentioned on Sunday in a combative speech peppered with threats in opposition to the United States over its army presence in Asia.
Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe attends the IISS Shangri-la Dialogue in Singapore, June 2, 2019. REUTERS/Feline Lim
Speaking at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, Asia’s premier defense summit, Wei mentioned China would “fight to the end” if anybody tried to cut up China from Taiwan, which Beijing considers a sacred territory to be taken by power if essential.
China has been incensed by latest strikes by U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration to improve help for self-ruled and democratic Taiwan, together with U.S. Navy sailings by way of the Taiwan Strait that separates the island from mainland China.
“No attempts to split China will succeed. Any interference in the Taiwan question is doomed to failure,” mentioned Wei, wearing his uniform of a basic within the People’s Liberation Army.
“If anyone dares to split Taiwan from China, the Chinese military has no choice but to fight at all costs … The U.S. is indivisible, and so is China. China must be, and will be, reunified.”
The United States, like most nations, has no formal ties with Taiwan, however is its strongest backer and principal supply of weapons.
China interprets the phrase “tong yi” as “reunification”, however it will also be translated as “unification”, a time period in English most well-liked by supporters of Taiwan independence who level out the Communist authorities has by no means dominated Taiwan and so it can’t be “reunified”.
China-U.S. ties have grow to be more and more strained due to a bitter commerce battle, U.S. help for Taiwan and China’s muscular army posture within the South China Sea, the place the United States additionally conducts freedom-of-navigation patrols.
On Saturday, appearing U.S. Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan informed the Shangri-La assembly that the United States would not “tiptoe” round Chinese conduct in Asia.
In May, Taiwan’s nationwide safety chief David Lee met White House nationwide safety adviser John Bolton, marking the primary assembly in additional than 4 a long time between senior U.S. and Taiwanese safety officers.
Taiwan is gearing up for presidential elections in January, and Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen has repeatedly accused Beijing of in search of to undermine Taiwan’s democracy and has vowed to defend the island and its freedoms.
Wei, the primary Chinese defense minister to converse at the Shangri-La Dialogue since 2011, mentioned its army operations in Asia have been purely aimed at self-defense, however it will not hesitate to counter an assault on its pursuits.
“China will not attack unless we are attacked,” Wei mentioned, cautioning that there can be dire penalties to any conflict between China and the United States.
“The two sides realize that conflict, or a war between them, would bring disaster to both countries and the world.”
Wei, in a transparent reference to the United States, additionally mentioned: “Some countries from outside the region come to the South China Sea to flex muscles in the name of freedom of navigation.”
On the continuing commerce battle, which has shaken monetary markets all over the world, Wei mentioned China would “fight to the end” if the United States wished a struggle. But if Washington wished to discuss, “we will keep the door open”.
Reporting by Lee Chyen Yee and Gerry Doyle; writing by Joe Brock; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan