Singapore, Jun 10 (EFE).- Chinese defense minister Wei Fenghe said Friday Taiwan is part of China’s territory and warned the United States that Beijing would “resolutely thwart” any foreign interference in “separatist attempts” by the island.
Under the ‘One China’ policy, China claims sovereignty over Taiwan and considers it a breakaway province after the Kuomintang nationalists retreated to the island in 1949 after losing the civil war against the Communists.
Wei was speaking at a joint press conference with US defense minister Lloyd Austin following a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the Shangri-La Dialogue, an annual security forum held in Singapore, in the first face-to-face meeting between the two superpowers since January 2021.
“The Chinese People’s Liberation Army will take effective measures to resolutely thwart any form of external interference and ‘Taiwan independence’ separatist attempts, and resolutely defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Wei said, according to Chinese state-run television CCTV.
The meeting, which lasted 30 minutes longer than planned, according to the South China Morning Post (SCMP), comes after US President Joe Biden warned in May on a trip to Tokyo that a “forcible” annexation of Taiwan by China would lead to US military intervention.
Austin struck a more moderate tone during Friday’s discussions with Wei, however, as Washington returned to using more ambiguous language with regard to Taiwan.
According to a statement released by the US Department of Defense, Austin said the US “remains committed to our longstanding one China policy,” although he urged Beijing to refrain from unilateral actions that could further destabilize the region.
Wei, for his part, said Beijing urged Washington to “immediately withdraw” from selling military equipment to Taiwan and cut military ties with the island, “so as to avoid further damage to the relationship between the two countries and the two militaries.”
On a friendlier note, Wei assured that China hopes to “establish a healthy and stable relationship with the US” and advised Washington to take a “rational” view of its “growth and development” and not “attack, defame China or interfere in its internal affairs”.
Austin will deliver a speech on Saturday on the US position in the Indo-Pacific that is also expected to make references to Taiwan, while Wei will appear on Sunday when the forum concludes. EFE