Chinese officials have warned the US that any effort to make Taiwan independent from China could trigger military action by Beijing.
Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe met with his US counterpart, Lloyd Austin, at an Asian security summit in Singapore, the BBC reported Saturday.
Separating Taiwan from China would leave Beijing with no option but to “fight at any cost,” Wei told Austin, according to the BBC.
But Austin claimed there were numerous Chinese aircraft flying near Taiwan on a near-daily basis, which he said “undermines peace and stability in the region.” He called Chinese military activity “provocative” and destabilizing.”
China sees self-ruled Taiwan as an integral part of China’s territory.
A spokesman quoted Wei: “If anyone dares to split Taiwan from China, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) will have no choice but fight at any cost and crush any attempt of ‘Taiwan independence’ and safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
Austin said the US plans on maintaining the status quo – recognizing Beijing as the sole government of China and opposing Taiwanese independence.
Austin’s remarks came almost three weeks after President Joe Biden caused a stir when said the US would intervene militarily if China tried to take Taiwan by force.
Biden’s warning that seemed at odds with Washington’s traditionally deliberate ambiguity on the issue.
The White House quickly downplayed Biden’s remarks, saying they didn’t reflect a change in US policy.