China will ‘realize reunification’ with Taiwan, defense minister says
(Update: edits lede, adds Wei remarks)
Singapore, Jun 12 (EFE).- China’s defense minister said Sunday that his country “will definitely realize its reunification” with Taiwan, warning that the United States’ strategy in the Indo-Pacific could lead to “conflict and confrontation.”
“Taiwan is China’s Taiwan, it is an internal affair of China (…) China will definitely realize its reunification, it is a historic trend that no one will stop,” Wei Fenghe said during a speech at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, the most important defense forum in the Asia-Pacific, in which he emphasized that the “ideal” would be to achieve it by peaceful means.
On Friday, Wei met on the sidelines of the forum with United States Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, and warned him that China would “crush” any attempt at independence from Taiwan, which Washington would in principle defend from being attacked by Beijing.
“China is working with utmost effort and sincerity for reunification in a peaceful way. In the case of secession, China reserves other options,” the defense minister of the world’s second largest economy added.
He added that the resolve and capabilities of China’s armed forces in defending its sovereignty and territorial integrity should not be underestimated.
China claims sovereignty over Taiwan and considers the island a rebel province, which it has not ruled out use of force to achieve reunification with.
“The United States fought a civil war for its unity. China never wants such a civil war – we will resolutely crush any attempt. If anyone dares to secede Taiwan from China, we will not hesitate to fight – we will fight at all costs and until the very end,” he warned while calling on the two superpowers’ militaries to take “positive steps” towards improving their relationship.
“We request the US side to stop smearing and containing China. Stop interfering in China’s internal affairs. The bilateral relationship cannot improve unless the US side can do that,” he said.
Austin, who on Saturday gave a speech at the forum, assured that his country is opposed to “unilateral changes of the status quo” in Taiwan, but that his country remains “firmly committed to our long-standing one-China policy” and does not support Taiwan independence.
However, Austin accused China of being increasingly aggressive and carrying out “dangerous” moves in the area, such as the incursion of military aircraft into the Formosa Strait.
In Singapore, both defense chiefs have presented their views on the Indo-Pacific, the main area of dispute and, although they have raised Taiwan and other issues, they have committed to improving communication pathways.
“China-United States relations are at a critical and crucial juncture. China believes that a China-US relationship serves the interests of both countries and that cooperation is vital for global peace and development,” the Chinese minister said Sunday. EFE