Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe accused the United States of being a “bully” and stated that China “will not hesitate to fight” to crush Taiwanese independence should the self-governing island nation make any attempt to secede.
“For the sake of unification, the United States fought the war between North and South,” General Wei told an audience of defense, military, and diplomatic officials on the last day of Singapore’s 2022 Shangri-La Dialogue, Asia’s premier defense summit.
“China is most unwilling to go through a civil war like that, but will resolutely smash any schemes for Taiwan independence,” he continued. “If anyone dares to split off Taiwan, we will not hesitate to fight, well not flinch from the cost, and will fight to the very end.”
The remarks follow those of US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, who, the day before, told summit attendees that “Indo-Pacific countries shouldn’t face political intimidation, economic coercion, or harassment” from the People’s Republic of China’s “maritime militias.”
“The PRC’s moves threaten to undermine security, and stability, and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific,” Austin stated.
“Austin had also talked about US coalition-building in the region and its joint military exercises with Japan, Australia, India and Indonesia, but Wei said this was a kind of ‘power politics’ that China rejected,” CNN reports.
“No one and no country should impose its will on others, or bully others under the guise of multilateralism,” Wei argued.
“We notice Secretary Austin’s remarks on the US Indo-Pacific strategy,” the General said. “To us, the strategy is an attempt to build an exclusive, small group in the name of a free and open Indo-Pacific, to hijack countries in our region and target one specific country. It is a strategy to create conflict.”
Tension over Taiwan has long been an dividing wedge between the United States and China.
While the United States has supplied Taipei with defensive weapons, it has historically chosen an ambiguous approach regarding its willingness to intervene militarily should China attack — that is, until President Joe Biden made an oft-script remark in May.
White House rushes to clarify Biden’s claim that US will defend Taiwan if invaded; China outraged https://t.co/VplcnH6bte pic.twitter.com/J6I8h1eOqh
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) May 23, 2022
As BizPac Review reported at the time, when asked by a reporter in Japan if he was “willing to get involved militarily to defend Taiwan if it comes to that,” Biden replied, “yes.”
“That’s the commitment we made,” the President said.
“Look, here’s the situation,” he continued. “We agree with the One China policy, but the idea that to be taken by force, just taken by force, is just not appropriate. It will dislocate the entire region and be another action similar to what happened in Ukraine.”
The White House jumped to run Biden’s statement back, but clearly, the damage had already been done.
At the summit, General Wei stressed that “no force” will prevent China from reunifying with Taiwan, by any means necessary.
“China will definitely realize its reunification. … It is a historical trend that no one, no force can stop,” he vowed.
“Let me make this clear,” Wei stated. “If anyone dares to secede Taiwan from China, we will not hesitate to fight. We will fight at all costs. And we will fight to the very end.”
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