Taiwan issue is clear, while reef construction defensive
Chinese State Councilor and Defence Minister Wei Fenghe yesterday reiterated China’s firm position on Taiwan, warning against any forces’ attempt to separate the island from the country.
The Taiwan question bears on China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and China must be and will be reunified, said the minister during a speech at the Shangri-La Dialogue being held in Singapore.
“If anyone dares to split Taiwan from China, the Chinese military has no choice but to fight at all costs for national unity,” said the state councilor.
Wei said no attempts to split China shall succeed and foreign intervention in the Taiwan question is doomed to failure.
“Any underestimation of the PLA’s (People’s Liberation Army) resolve and will is extremely dangerous,” he said.
“We will strive for the prospects of peaceful reunification with utmost sincerity and greatest efforts, but we make no promise to renounce the use of force,” he noted. “Safeguarding national unity is the sacred duty of the PLA.”
Meanwhile, Wei also stressed that China’s construction on its South China Sea islands and reefs is its legitimate right and is purely defensive in nature.
“The current situation in the South China Sea is improving toward greater stability,” Wei said. “It is attributed to the common efforts of the countries in the region. However, there are always people trying to rake in profits by stirring up troubles in the region.”
He said more than 100,000 ships sail through the South China Sea each year, and “none has been threatened.”
However, in recent years, some countries outside the region come to the South China Sea to flex muscles, in the name of freedom of navigation.
“The large-scale force projection and offensive operations in the region are the most serious destabilizing and uncertain factors in the South China Sea,” he said.
If there is chaos in the South China Sea, the regional countries are the ones who will bear the brunt.
China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations countries have made progress in negotiating the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea, he added.
Wei noted that China’s construction on its South China Sea islands and reefs is legitimate and defensive in nature.
“It is the legitimate right of a sovereign state to carry out construction on its own territory,” he said.
“China has built limited defence facilities on the islands and reefs. In the face of heavily armed warships and military aircraft, how can we stay impervious and not build some defense facilities?”
He also refuted suggestions of the “militarization” of China’s defensive construction on its South China Sea islands and reefs at the Q&A session. “Anyone who has some military sense would know it’s not militarization,” he said.
Wei gave a keynote speech yesterday morning at a plenary session of the 18th Shangri-La Dialogue entitled “China and International Security Cooperation.”
Officially known as the Asia Security Summit, the Shangri-La Dialogue has been organized and convened annually by the British think tank International Institute for Strategic Studies and the Singaporean government since 2002.
This year’s event attracted 40 countries.