BEIJING (Reuters) – China's army will take action "for every price" to try to separate the autonomous island of Taiwan,…
BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s army will take action “for every price” to try to separate the autonomous island of Taiwan, which Beijing claims as its own, said the country’s defense minister on Thursday.
PHIL PHOTO: China’s Prime Minister Wei Fenghe talks to the ASEAN Defense Ministers at a meeting of the ASEAN Defense Minister in Singapore on October 1
9, 2018. REUTERS / Edgar Su
Beijing has been insulted by the latest US sanctions on its military, one of a growing number of flash points in Washington with a bitter trade war, Taiwan and China’s increasingly muscular military position in the South China Sea.
On Monday, the United States sent two warships through the Taiwan Strait in the second such operation this year and most recently in a series of gestures made by the White House in support of democratic Taiwan.
“The Taiwan issue is related to China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and touches China’s core interests,” said Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe at the opening of the Xiangshan Forum in Beijing, which China is in response to the annual Shangri-La Dialogue Security Forum in Singapore.
“In this issue, it is extremely dangerous to repeatedly challenge China’s bottom line. If anyone tries to separate Taiwan (from China), China’s army will take the necessary action at all costs.”
China-Taiwan relations have worsened since the island president Tsai Ing-wen, the Independence-linked Democratic Progressive Party, swept to power in 2016.
Beijing, who has never refrained from using force to take Taiwan under control, has also seen US take over the island with alarm, for example, a new de facto embassy there and passage of a law to encourage visits by US officials.
China’s military ties with the United States are important and sensitive, Wei said, adding that China will never give up an inch of its territory.
Beijing opposite views of strength and provocation in the southern China Sea of ”nations from outside the region” performed under pretext to protect the flight and navigation freedom, he added.
The world’s two largest economies were required to deepen high ties to navigate tensions and force the risk of unintentional conflict, US Defense Minister Jim Mattis told his Chinese counterpart last week.
Mattis first saw last month how the assembly of Sino-U.S friction could undermine military contacts when Beijing achieved plans for meeting Wei in October.
China has been upset by US sanctions for its military to buy weapons from Russia, and what Beijing sees as an intensified US support for democratic Taiwan, which it claims as a holy territory.
China has also expressed its concern after US President Donald Trump said Washington would withdraw a landmark for the Cold War Era Agreement, which eliminated nuclear missiles from Europe because Russia violates the Pact.
China is not a party to that treaty, but Trump has also proposed Beijing’s military force played a role in its decision, which China has described as “completely wrong.”
Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Write by Christian Shepherd; Editing Clarence Fernandez and Michael Perry
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