The Mainland Affairs Council yesterday said China’s threat to use armed force against Taiwan and to compromise peace in the region is absolutely unacceptable, after Chinese Minister of National Defense General Wei Fenghe (魏鳳和) said in Singapore that China’s military would “resolutely take action” to defend Beijing’s claims to Taiwan and disputed South China Sea waters.
The Republic of China is a sovereign state and Taiwan has never been part of the People’s Republic of China, it said in a statement.
Beijing’s hegemonic and expansionist ambitions are detrimental to peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, damage the international order, cause anxiety to nations in the region and expose the “peaceful development” touted by Beijing as “the lie of the century,” the council said.
The international community should understand that China, with its anti-democratic machinations, war-like ambitions and provocative behavior, is the main cause of cross-strait tensions and the main threat to peace and stability, it added.
Earlier in the day, Wei told the Shangri-La Dialogue that China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) would not “yield a single inch of the country’s sacred land.”
“The PLA has no intention to cause anybody trouble, but it is not afraid to face up to troubles. Should anybody risk crossing the bottom line, the PLA will resolutely take action and defeat all enemies,” Wei said in a speech to defense and other government officials and academics at the annual security conference.
“China must be and will be reunified. We find no excuse not to do so. If anyone dares to split Taiwan from China, the Chinese military has no choice but to fight at all costs, at all costs, for national unity,” Wei said. “We will strive for the prospect of peaceful unification with utmost sincerity and greatest efforts, but we make no promise to renounce the use of force.”
He rebutted US allegations of militarization of the South China Sea, saying that the facilities it built on reclaimed land there were “defensive” in nature.
Wei said China and the US recognize that a conflict or war between them would have wide-reaching effects.
“It takes two to cooperate but only one to start a fight,” he said. “We hope that the US side will work with us towards the same goal, follow the principles of non-conflict, non-confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation, and steer the China-US relations in the right direction.”
Wei surprised many observers by taking a question from an audience member about the 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre.
“That incident was a political turbulence and the central government took measures to stop the turbulence which is a correct policy,” he said.
“The 30 years have proven that China has undergone major changes,” he said, adding that because of the government’s actions at that time “China has enjoyed stability and development.”
Wei also said that China’s policies in Xinjiang had improved people’s lives and prevented terror attacks from happening for more than two years.
China last sent a high-ranking general to the Shangri-La conference in 2011. Some observers see Wei’s attendance this year was a pointed attempt by China to cement its relationships in the region.
In related news, China yesterday began two days of military training in the South China Sea.
The China Maritime Safety Administration said the drills were being held all day yesterday and for half a day tomorrow in an area near China’s holdings in the Paracel Islands (西沙群島, Xisha Islands).
Taipei on Friday rejected Hanoi’s characterization of its recent live-fire drill near Itu Aba Island (Taiping Island, 太平島) as “illegal,” saying that Taiwan’s claim to the small island in the South China Sea was “unquestionable.” The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said in a statement that the comments made by its Vietnamese counterpart about the military’s routine live-fire drills near Itu Aba on Tuesday were “unacceptable.” Earlier on Friday, Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Le Thi Thu Hang called Taiwan’s military activity “a serious violation of Vietnam’s territorial sovereignty,” saying it had caused tensions and complicated the situation in the region. Hang
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