China’s defense minister took a fresh swipe at U.S.’s foreign policy Monday by vowing “no one and no force” will get in the way of his country’s annexation of Taiwan — and any nation that tries to do so is “doomed to failure.”
Gen. Wei Fenghe did not refer directly to America during his opening remarks at the Chinese-sponsored Xiangshan Forum, but he did recite some of Beijing’s greatest hits against Washington and its Western allies, which China believes are trying to constrain the communist nation’s development, the Associated Press reported.
“No one and no force will be able to stop the course” of China’s annexation of Taiwan, Wei said at the security conference in Beijing, which featured a theme this year of “Maintaining International Order and Promoting Peace in the Asia-Pacific.”
China “will never allow the separatists for Taiwan independence to take their chances or any external forces to interfere into the Taiwan affairs,” he added. “Reunification of the motherland is a justified course and separatist activities are doomed to failure.”
Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe salutes after delivering his opening speech for the Xiangshan Forum, a gathering of the region’s security officials, in Beijing, on Monday. Wei issued a stinging rebuke of the U.S. at a defense forum in Beijing, saying China wasn’t fazed by sanctions, pressure and a “big stick policy.” (AP)
Taiwan, a former Japanese colony, split from China amid civil war in 1949 and enjoys strong U.S. military and diplomatic backing, despite the lack of formal ties.
Referring to what China regards as unwarranted U.S. intervention in other countries’ affairs, Wei said China wouldn’t accept or be intimidated by acts and rhetoric emanating from Washington, D.C.
He included among those actions “long-arm jurisdiction,” China’s pejorative term for the leveling of U.S. sanctions on countries such as itself, North Korea and Iran.
Wei’s comments Monday come amid heightened tensions between China and the U.S. over a range of economic and security issues, from trade and technology transfer to Hong Kong and the South China Sea.
U.S. officials recently offered their own harsh assessments of China’s drive to supplant America as Asia’s pre-eminent military power.
In testimony Wednesday before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, U.S. diplomat David R. Stilwell said China’s ruling Communist Party is pursuing a “repressive alternative vision” for the region that seeks to reorder it in its favor and has put Beijing “in a position of strategic competition with all who seek to preserve a free and open order of sovereign nations within a rules-based order.”
Stilwell, assistant secretary of the State Department’s Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, said China’s claim to virtually the entire South China Sea as exemplified by the “preposterous nine-dashed line” lacked “legal, historic, or geographic merit.”
Stilwell was especially scathing about China’s claim to be pursuing a peaceful code of conduct with other parties while using its navy, coast guard and other actors to bully neighbors such as Vietnam and cement its claims in their area by building artificial island outposts.
“We remain skeptical of the PRC’s sincerity to negotiate a meaningful Code of Conduct that reinforces international law,” Stilwell said. “If it is used by the PRC to legitimize its egregious behavior and unlawful maritime claims, and to evade the commitments Beijing signed up to under international law, a Code of Conduct would be harmful to the region, and to all who value freedom of the seas.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.