China tells US it will ‘fight at all costs’ for Taiwan
Chinese Defense Minister General Wei Fenghe told US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Friday that Beijing would “fight at all costs” to prevent Taiwan from breaking away from the Chinese mainland. His warning comes as the US pursues a multi-million dollar arms deal with Taiwan and amid conflicting messages on the island’s status from Washington.
“If anyone dares to split Taiwan from China, the Chinese military has no choice but to fight at all costs and take all necessary measures to crush any attempt by ‘Taiwan Separatists’ to split Taiwan from the motherland,” Wei told Austin, according to Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman Wu Qian.
“The Chinese military will resolutely safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Wu added.
Wei and Austin met in Singapore on Friday, on the sidelines of the annual Shangri-La Dialogue defense conference. The gathering, organized by the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), a British think-tank, drew attendees from more than 40 countries, and opened with a speech from Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.
Prior to Austin and Wei’s meeting, US President Joe Biden declared last month that America would involve its military in any potential conflict between China and Taiwan, seemingly disregarding the US’ long-standing policy of ‘strategic ambiguity’ on the island and its relationship with Beijing.
Austin and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken walked back Biden’s statement and declared that the US was standing by its ‘One China Policy’ – which recognizes but does not endorse Beijing’s sovereignty over Taiwan and neither guarantees nor rules out US military intervention should China threaten to assimilate Taiwan by force.
However, Blinken’s insistence that China is engaged in “provocative rhetoric and activity” toward Taiwan, as well as the Pentagon’s approval on Wednesday of a $120 million arms sale to Taipei, have angered the Chinese government. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian on Thursday announced that such deals “seriously violate the one-China principle.”
Speaking in Singapore on Friday, Wu reiterated China’s opposition to this arms deal, and rejected Blinken’s claims that Beijing was threatening the stability of the Taiwan Strait. Instead, he claimed that “Taiwan independence and foreign forces” have been responsible for any changes.