China vows 'fight to the end' to stop Taiwan independence
China will "fight to the very end" to stop Taiwan independence, the country's defense minister vowed on Sunday.
Chinese State Councilor and Defense Minister Wei Fenghe made the remarks during a speech on China's vision of regional order at the 19th Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore.
On Saturday, United States Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin accused China of "destabilizing" military activity, in a speech to the summit.
Wei said that China had "no choice" but to fight if attempts are made to separate Taiwan from China.
"We will fight at all cost, and we will fight to the very end," he told the summit, which brings together defense ministers from Asia and around the world.
"No one should ever underestimate the resolve and ability of the Chinese armed forces to safeguard its territorial integrity."
"Those who pursue Taiwanese independence in an attempt to split China will definitely come to no good end," he added.
Peaceful reunification is the greatest wish of the Chinese people, he said. "We are willing to make the greatest efforts to achieve that."
Wei urged Washington to "stop smearing and containing China ... stop interfering in China's internal affairs and stop harming China's interests."
Wei pointed out that the world is facing multiple crises rarely seen in history, and the way forward is to uphold and practice multilateralism and build a community with a shared future for mankind.
"China's development is unstoppable," Wei said, adding that China is rock-solid in its commitment to pursuing peaceful development.
China's development is not a threat to others. On the contrary, it is a huge contribution to global peace and development, the minister noted.
China steadfastly pursues a defense policy that is defensive in nature, he insisted. "The Chinese military is always a force for peace and will remain firm in safeguarding China's sovereignty, security and development interests."
Noting that the Asia-Pacific is the world's most vibrant and promising economic powerhouse, Wei urged countries to strive for the bright prospect of building an Asia-Pacific community with a shared future that enjoys durable peace and provides security for all.
Wei also expounded on China's position regarding the South China Sea, China-US relations and the Ukraine crisis. He called for a "stable" China-US relationship, which he said was "vital for global peace."
During his address, Austin stressed the importance of "fully open lines of communication with China's defense leaders" in avoiding miscalculations.
The pair held their first face-to-face talks on the sidelines of the summit in Singapore on Friday.