In a meeting between China and the U.S. on Friday, Chinese Defense Minister General Wei Fenghe warned that the country would go to war with Taiwan if the island declared independence.
The two world superpowers met in Singapore for the IISS Shangri-La Dialogue defense summit alongside over 30 other defense ministers and officials from around the world. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida gave the event’s keynote speech.
In a separate face-to-face meeting with U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Wei made it clear that China remained firm in its stance against Taiwanese independence.
“If anyone dares to split Taiwan from China, the Chinese army will definitely not hesitate to start a war no matter the cost,” the general said.
In a meeting that went on for nearly an hour, the two allotted the majority of their time focusing on Washington’s position on Taiwan and China’s heightened military presence in the strait in recent months.
The U.S. Department of Defense also stated, while “the United States remains committed to our longstanding one China policy … The Secretary reaffirmed the importance of peace and stability across the Strait, opposition to unilateral changes to the status quo, and called on the PRC to refrain from further destabilizing actions toward Taiwan.”
The “one China policy” asserts that there is one country — China — with two systems. It maintains the idea that Taiwan remains an inalienable part of China as its territory, but it is also permitted to establish a political system separate from the mainland.
The last exchange between Austin and Wei was back in April via telephone.
The timing of the summit coincides with President Biden’s recent efforts to rally support in Asia and counteract China’s growing influence in the Indo-Pacific region.