China’s increasingly aggressive stance towards Taiwan has fueled further tensions with the US. After US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin criticized China’s “provocative and destabilizing” military actions near Taiwan, his Chinese colleague Wei Fenghe warned that his country would fight “to the end against independence” for the island. Anyone who has tried to do this “in order to divide China will certainly not end well,” Wei said at a security conference in Singapore on Sunday.
“We will fight at all costs and we will fight to the end,” Wei said. “No one should ever underestimate the determination of the Chinese armed forces to protect China’s territorial integrity.”
China is threatening war
On Friday, during the first bilateral meeting with Austin on the sidelines of the Shangri-La security dialogue, Wei had already threatened to war should Taiwan declare independence. “If anyone dares to separate Taiwan from China, the Chinese military will surely not hesitate – no matter the cost – before starting the war,” Wei said, according to his spokesman.
The US secretary of defense accused China on Saturday of increasing “provocative and destabilizing military activities” near Taiwan. As an example, he cited the record number of Chinese military planes which have penetrated the Taiwanese air defense zone (ADIZ) “almost daily” in recent months.
The US declares its support for Taiwan
China views Taiwan as a detached province that should be reunited with the mainland – with military force if necessary. The United States is seeking “strategic ambiguity” on this issue. Thus, they provide support to Taiwan in developing its defense capabilities, but do not make any explicit promises that they will come to the aid of the island in the event of war.
US President Joe Biden promised military support to Taiwan in May in the event of a Chinese invasion, which sparked outrage in Beijing. Since then, the White House has qualified the statement several times, stressing that its policy of “strategic ambiguity” had not changed.
Relations between the two world powers have deteriorated more and more in recent years. Security issues in particular are causing tensions, including those over Taiwan, the South China Sea and the war in Ukraine.
Fiji warns against climate change
Washington needs to stop “slandering China and keeping it in check,” Wei said on Sunday. It should no longer “interfere in China’s internal affairs and harm China’s interests.” At the same time, however, the Chinese defense minister set a conciliatory tone and called for “stable” relations between the two world powers. They are crucial “for world peace”.
Earlier, Austin had also stressed the importance of maintaining communication with all officials responsible for China’s defense. This is the only way to avoid misunderstandings and misjudgments.
Among the geopolitical disputes, Fiji’s Defense Minister Inia Seruiratu warned not to forget about the global threat posed by climate change. The biggest safety problem on his island is not “machine guns, fighters, ships”. “The greatest threat to our existence is devastating man-made climate change.” (AFP)