China’s defense minister said Sunday that China would “fight to the end” to prevent Taiwan from declaring independence, raising tensions between Beijing and Washington over the island’s fate.
“We will fight at all prices and we will fight to the end. This is the only option for China,” Wei Fenghe told the Shangri-La Dialogue Security Forum in Singapore.
“Those who pursue Taiwan’s independence with the goal of dividing China will certainly not achieve their goals,” he said. “No one should ever underestimate the will and ability of the Chinese Armed Forces to maintain its territorial integrity.”
His speech came the day after a statement by US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin condemning Beijing’s “provocative and destabilizing” military operations near Taiwan.
China considers this democratic and self-governing island, with a population of 24 million, to be one of its historic provinces, although it does not control it, and has increased pressure against Taipei in recent years, for example through incursions into the Taiwan Air Defense Zone.
These actions have escalated tensions with the United States, which are already high in many other areas. Shangri-La in Singapore.