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China ‘will fight to the end’ for Taiwan, says defense minister, calling US a ‘tyrant’

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TAIPEI, Taiwan — China’s defense minister has called Washington a “tyrant” and vowed to “fight to the end” to take control of Taiwan, sparking a war of words with his American counterpart.

In a combative and far-reaching speech Sunday at an annual defense conference in Singapore, General Wei Fenghe repeatedly accused Washington of what he called “interference” in China’s internal affairs. , particularly on the question of Taiwan and territorial disputes in the South. China Sea.

“Some people in the United States are trying to suppress China on all fronts. If you want confrontation, we will fight to the end,” Wei said during the Shangri-La dialogue. “If someone forces a war on China, the military won’t flinch.”

His comments were part of a broader rebuttal by US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, who said in a speech to the conference a day earlier that Washington would thwart Beijing’s growing influence in the Indo-Pacific region.

Wei’s remarks, meant to be an outline of Beijing’s vision for regional order, were aimed directly at the United States.

“The People’s Liberation Army has fought many strong opponents and won many victories. We are not causing trouble, but we will not back down from provocation. We will not bully others, but we will not allow others to bully us,” he said.

Affirming that Beijing promotes cooperation and that its military development is only for defensive capabilities, Wei said, “China will not be the bully. We all know who the bully is.

In first meeting, US and Chinese defense chiefs call for more communication

Beijing claims Taiwan, an autonomous democracy which it considers a province of China. For years, Beijing has pledged to achieve what it calls “reunification” and has threatened to take control by military force if necessary.

“Let’s be clear: if anyone dares to secede Taiwan from China, we will not hesitate to fight. We will fight at all costs, and we will fight until the end,” he said.

Wei said China’s role as an emerging power should not be seen as a threat. “China’s development is a historic trend. It is neither possible nor reasonable to try to stop it,” he said.

Austin and Wei met for the first time in Singapore on Friday, and both agreed on the importance of communication and risk reduction, which was taken as an indication that the temperature of the rivalry had been reduced. .

Calling for a “healthy and stable relationship between major countries,” Wei told Austin that the two countries should not allow their differences to deepen, according to Chinese state broadcaster CCTV.

The Department of Defense said Austin “discussed the need to responsibly manage competition and keep lines of communication open.”

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Eva Dou and Michelle Ye Hee Lee in Shenzhen, China contributed to this report.

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Post expires at 2:50am on Friday June 24th, 2022

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