In a speech at an international security conference in Singapore on Sunday, Chinese Defence Minister Wei Fenghe labeled the U.S. a bully and vowed that China would “fight to the end” to stop Taiwan from asserting its independence.
During the Shangri-La Dialogue security summit in Singapore, Wei appeared to respond to remarks made by U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin a day earlier, and said, “Taiwan is, first and foremost, ‘China’s Taiwan.’ … It’s an internal affair of China’s.” Wei then said China will inevitably achieve reunification with Taiwan, adding that “those who pursue Taiwan independence in an attempt to split China will definitely come to no good end.”
“Let me make this clear: if anyone dares to secede Taiwan from China, we will not hesitate to fight we will fight at all costs and we will fight to the very end,” Wei said. “This is the only choice for China.”
Taiwan governs itself as an independent nation, but China considers it a part of its territory. China has frequently alluded to reunification with the island, including through military force.
“Some country has violated its promise on the One-China principle as it applies to Taiwan,” Wei said, referring to the U.S. “It has connived at and supported the moves of separatist forces for Taiwan independence. It keeps playing the Taiwan card against China and it often cites the so-called Taiwan Relations Act, using its domestic law to interfere in the internal affairs of another country.”
“No one and no country should impose its will on others or bully others under the guise of multilateralism,” Wei said, specifically referencing a speech Secretary Austin gave the day before, in which Austin outlined U.S. partnerships in the Indo-Pacific region, including the quadrilateral security dialogue (known as “The Quad”), the trilateral security pact between Australia, the United Kingdom and the U.S. (known as AUKUS) and the recently announced Indo-Pacific Economic Framework.
“We noticed Secretary Austin’s remarks on the U.S. Indo-Pacific strategy,” Wei said. “To us the strategy is an attempt to build an exclusive small group in the name of a free and open Pacific to hijack countries in our region and target one specific country. It is a strategy to create conflict confrontation to contain and encircle others.”
Wei publicly addressed the entire Shangri-La Dialogue just days after he privately met with Austin on the sidelines of the summit and told his U.S. counterpart that “if anyone dares to split Taiwan from China, the Chinese army will definitely not hesitate to start a war, no matter the cost.” Wei’s Sunday speech essentially made his previously private remarks to Austin known to all in attendance at the security summit in Singapore.
Wei went on to criticize Austin’s reference to the “rules-based international order” frequently cited by U.S. officials when discussing countering China’s expansion in the Indo-Pacific region.
“We should uphold sovereign equality of all nations and say no to bullying and might makes right,” We said on Sunday. “We should seek peaceful settlement of disputes and reject the use of or threat to use force. We should not interfere in others’ internal affairs and say no to unilateral sanctions and long-armed jurisdiction. One is not in a position to champion any international law rule or order if it only follows rules that fit its interests, minds others’ family business with its own domestic rules, or binds or even attacks others with the convention it has not acceded to itself.”