In a forceful response to his American counterpart, Chinese State Councilor and Minister of Defense General Wei Fenghe said that the United States’ strategy for the Indo-Pacific region fuels future conflicts.
Stressing that ties between the two superpowers are at a critical juncture, Fenghe said it is up to the United States to improve bilateral relations.
Addressing the first Asian security meeting, the Shangri-La Dialogue, Fenghe urged the United States to stop “smearing and containing China”.
Amid growing tensions with the United States over the island, Fenghe said China “will fight to the end” to prevent Taiwan from declaring independence.
Suggesting at the first Asia Defense Forum that recent Chinese military activities around the self-governing island threaten to change the status quo, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin stressed US support for Taiwan.
He had criticized “the steady increase in provocative and destabilizing military activities near Taiwan”.
Read also | US Department of Defense denounces China’s ‘destabilizing’ military activity near Taiwan
In a bid to bully it into accepting Beijing’s demands for unification with the communist mainland, China has intensified its military provocations against democratic Taiwan in recent years.
Although China claims Taiwan as part of its territory, the two separated during a civil war in 1949. Beijing has warned not to underestimate its determination to protect its national interests and said those who support the independence of Taiwan will suffer adverse consequences.
(With agency contributions)
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