Saturday June 11, 2022

China Will ‘Not Hesitate to Start War’ Over Taiwan, Beijing Tells US

China

SINGAPORE: Beijing will “not hesitate to start a war” if Taiwan declares independence, China s defence minister warned his US counterpart Friday, the latest salvo between the superpowers over the island.

The warning from Wei Fenghe came as he held his first face-to-face meeting with US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin on the sidelines of the Shangri-La Dialogue security summit in Singapore.

Beijing views democratic, self-ruled Taiwan as its territory and has vowed to one day seize the island, by force if necessary, and US-China tensions over the issue have soared in recent months.

Wei warned Austin that “if anyone dares to split Taiwan from China, the Chinese army will definitely not hesitate to start a war no matter the cost”, defence ministry spokesman Wu Qian quoted the minister as saying during the meeting.

The Chinese minister vowed that Beijing would “smash to smithereens any  Taiwan independence  plot and resolutely uphold the unification of the motherland”, according to the Chinese defence ministry.

He “stressed that Taiwan is China s Taiwan… Using Taiwan to contain China will never prevail”, the ministry said.

Austin “reaffirmed the importance of peace and stability across the (Taiwan) Strait, opposition to unilateral changes to the status quo, and called on (China) to refrain from further destabilising actions toward Taiwan”, according to the US Department of Defense.

Tensions over Taiwan have escalated in particular due to increasing Chinese aircraft incursions into the island s air defence identification zone (ADIZ).

US President Joe Biden, during a visit to Japan last month, appeared to break decades of US policy when, in response to a question, he said Washington would defend Taiwan militarily if it is attacked by China.

The White House has since insisted its policy of “strategic ambiguity” over whether or not it would intervene has not changed.

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