China’s defense minister lambasted the U.S. this weekend for what he said was undue interference in regional disputes relating to Taiwan and the South China Sea, according to Reuters.
Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe said Sunday at the Shangri-La Dialogue, Asia’s foremost defense summit, that China would “fight to the end” against meddling into its relationship with Taiwan, which China considers a Chinese territory.
“If anyone dares to split Taiwan from China, the Chinese military has no choice but to fight at all costs,” Wei said, according to Reuters. “The U.S. is indivisible, and so is China. China must be, and will be, reunified.”
Both nations, he added, understand that outright war “would bring disaster to both countries and the world.” The U.S. does not have any formal ties to Taiwan but has sold it arms and aroused Chinese ire in May when U.S. and Taiwanese officials met for a security summit, the first of its kind in decades.
Taiwan’s government said in a statement that Beijing’s claims of its “peaceful development” were the “lie of the century.” Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council said Taiwan “will continue to strengthen its self-defense capabilities, defend the country’s sovereignty and democratic system, and uphold the right of the 23 million people of Taiwan to freely choose their future.”
On Saturday, Acting Defense Secretary Patrick ShanahanPatrick Michael ShanahanSenators introducing bill to penalize Pentagon for failed audits Overnight Defense: National Guard boosts DC presence ahead of inauguration | Lawmakers demand probes into troops' role in Capitol riot | Financial disclosures released for Biden Pentagon nominee Biden Pentagon pick could make up to .7M from leaving Raytheon MORE called out recent Chinese activity in the region without identifying the country by name at the same summit.
"Perhaps the greatest long-term threat to the vital interests of states across this region comes from actors who seek to undermine, rather than uphold, the rules-based international order," Shanahan said. "If the trends in these behaviors continue, artificial features in the global commons could become tollbooths, sovereignty could become the purview of the powerful.”