Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Chinese Defense Minister General Wei Fenghe exchanged warnings about Taiwan over the weekend, even after a one-on-one meeting intended to reduce tensions.
The two men met on Saturday, June 11, 2022, for the first time under the Biden administration at the annual Shangri-La Dialogue security forum in Singapore. The meeting lasted just under an hour, with most of it spent in Taiwan, according to an official Defense Ministry report.
Officials said they viewed the lines of communication between Austin and Wei as “guardrails to prevent the two sides from veering off course into escalation.” One official anticipated “additional open military channels from the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to his counterpart.”
Austin explained US policy towards Taiwan – the US recognizes that there is “one” China, but does not support unilateral changes to the status quo between China and Taiwan and will remain committed to providing support in Taiwan to resist a Chinese military invasion.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin meets Chinese Defense Minister General Wei Fenghe on the sidelines of the Shangri-La Dialogue. Both sought to increase communication between competitors to reduce the risk of miscalculation. #IISS #SLD22 pic.twitter.com/pLQ7q1HMtt
— James A. Garamone (@GaramoneDODNews) June 11, 2022
However, Austin also issued a public warning to Beijing during his speech at the Shangri-La Dialogue on Friday evening.
“We will also support our friends as they stand up for their rights,” Austin said. “It is all the more important that [People’s Republic of China] takes a more coercive and aggressive approach to its land claims.
Austin described China’s aggressive and destabilizing behavior toward its neighbors in the East China Sea and South China Sea, as well as “in the territorial waters of other Indo-Pacific countries.” Further west, Beijing is toughening its stance along its border with India, he said.
“You know, Indo-Pacific countries should not face political intimidation, economic coercion or harassment by maritime militias. Thus, the Ministry of Defense will maintain our active presence throughout the Indo-Pacific. We will continue to support the 2016 Arbitral Tribunal decision. And we will fly, navigate and operate wherever international law permits. And we will do it alongside our partners,” said Austin.
Austin also criticized China for “an alarming increase” in the number of dangerous aerial interceptions and clashes at sea by Chinese planes and ships.
He said the United States was not looking for confrontation, conflict, a new Cold War, an Asian NATO or a region divided into hostile blocs. However, he added, “we will defend our interests without flinching”.
The next day, Wei gave a blistering response.
Taking on Austin, Wei dismissed his “slanderous accusation” that China was the source of regional instability regarding Taiwan. He accused the United States of bullying others in the region, not China.
“No country should impose its will on others or bully others under the guise of multilateralism,” Wei said, according to The Associated Press. “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 a specific country – it is a strategy to create conflicts and confrontations to contain and surround the others.”
Wei accused the United States of “meddling in the affairs of our region” with U.S. naval patrols and “flexing the muscles by sending warships and warplanes rampaging through the South China Sea.”
He also accused the United States of not adhering to the one-China policy, saying “it continues to play the Taiwan card against China.”
Wei warned that China would “definitely” achieve its goal of reunification with Taiwan. China views Taiwan as a rogue Chinese province, while Taiwan views itself as a separate country.
“China’s reunification is a great cause of the Chinese nation, and it is a historic trend that no one or any force can stop,” he said, adding that China “will resolutely crush any attempt to pursue Taiwan Independence”.
“We won’t hesitate to fight, we will fight at all costs and we will fight until the end,” he said. “It’s the only choice for China.”
As Breitbart News reported, 30 Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) aircraft recently flew into Taiwan’s Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) during the second largest military aircraft incursion of the year, which for the first time included two Su-35 fighters. in at least several years.
Follow Breitbart News’ Kristina Wong on Twitter or on Facebook.
#Defense #Secretary #Chinese #Minister #Warn #Taiwan #Trade
Post expires at 10:10am on Friday June 24th, 2022