China warns ‘bully’ US: We ‘will not hesitate to fight’ to defend claim on Taiwan

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China’s Defense Minister Wei Fenghe accused the US of being a “bully” and vowed that Beijing “will not hesitate to fight” to defend its claim over Taiwan.

“For the sake of unification, the US fought the war between North and South. China is most unwilling to go through a civil war like that, but will resolutely smash any schemes for Taiwan independence. If anyone dares to split off Taiwan, we will not hesitate to fight, will not flinch from the cost, and will fight to the very end,” General Wei said at the Shangri-La Dialogue, a regional security forum in Singapore.

He added: “A certain country has violated the principle and commitments on ‘one China’ regarding the Taiwan issue. Taiwan independence is a dead end, a delusion. Leaning on the support of foreigners will not succeed. Forget about it.”

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A day earlier, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin discussed the US strategy in the Indo-Pacific region in meetings with defense ministers of Japan, South Korea and Australia on the sidelines of the Shangri-La Dialogue.

He also delivered a speech on Saturday at the forum and said: “Indo-Pacific countries shouldn't face political intimidation, economic coercion, or harassment by maritime militias.”

“The PRC's [People’s Republic of China] moves threaten to undermine security, and stability, and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific,” he added.

Wei singled out Austin’s remarks. “No one and no country should impose its will on others, or bully others under the guise of multilateralism,” Wei said.

“We notice Secretary Austin's remarks on the US Indo-Pacific strategy. To us, the strategy is an attempt to build an exclusive, small group in the name of a free and open Indo-Pacific, to hijack countries in our region and target one specific country. It is a strategy to create conflict,” he added.

The US has a long-standing policy of “strategic ambiguity” which allows for beefing up Taiwan’s defenses but not explicitly coming to its aid.

Last month, US President Joe Biden said he would be willing to use military force to defend Taiwan against China.

However, the Pentagon and the White House later stated that the US policy towards Taiwan has not changed.

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