China accuses US of trying to hijack aid in Asia: NPR
China accuses US of trying to hijack aid in Asia: NPR

China accuses US of trying to hijack aid in Asia: NPR

China’s Defense Minister General Wei Fenghe speaks at a plenary session of the 19th International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) Shangri-la Dialogue, Asia’s annual Defense and Security Forum, in Singapore, on Sunday, June 12, 2022.

Danial Hakim / AP


hide caption

change caption

Danial Hakim / AP


China’s Defense Minister General Wei Fenghe speaks at a plenary session of the 19th International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) Shangri-la Dialogue, Asia’s annual Defense and Security Forum, in Singapore, on Sunday, June 12, 2022.

Danial Hakim / AP

SINGAPORE – China’s defense minister on Sunday accused the United States of trying to “hijack” support from Asia-Pacific countries to turn them against Beijing, saying Washington is seeking to advance its own interests “under the guise of multilateralism.”

Secretary of Defense General Wei Fenghe lashed out at U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, dismissing his “blackening accusation” the day before in the Shangri-La Dialogue that China was causing instability with its claim to the autonomous island of Taiwan and its increased military activity in the area. .

Austin had stressed the need for multilateral partnerships with nations in the Indo-Pacific, which Wei suggested was an attempt to back China up in a corner.

“No country should impose its will on others or bully others under the guise of multilateralism,” he said. “The strategy is an attempt to build an exclusive small group in the name of a free and open Indo-Pacific to capture countries in our region and target one specific country – it is a strategy to create conflict and confrontation to contain and surround others. “

China has rapidly modernized its military and sought to expand its influence and ambitions in the region, recently signing a security deal with the Solomon Islands that many fear could lead to a Chinese naval base in the Pacific, paving the way last week for a naval expansion project in Cambodia , which could give Beijing a foothold in the Gulf of Thailand.

Last year, U.S. officials accused China of testing a hypersonic missile, a weapon that is harder for missile defense systems to counter, but China insisted it had been a “routine test of a spacecraft.”

When Wei answered a question about the test on Sunday, Wei came closest to acknowledging that it was indeed a hypersonic missile, saying: “In terms of hypersonic weapons, many countries are developing weapons, and I do not think there are no surprise that China does. “

“China will develop its military,” he added. “I think it’s natural.”

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said last month that China represented the “most serious long-term challenge to international order” for the United States, with its demands on Taiwan and efforts to dominate the strategic South China Sea.

The United States and its allies have responded with so-called freedom patrols in the South China Sea and the Strait of Taiwan, sometimes encountering a setback from the Chinese military.

Wei accused the United States of “interfering in the affairs of our region” with the patrols and “flexing its muscles by sending warships and warships on a rampage in the South China Sea.”

China has kept up with, among others, the Philippines and Vietnam on maritime requirements, and Wei said it was up to the countries in the region to find their own solutions.

“China calls for making the South China Sea a sea of ​​peace, friendship and cooperation,” he said. “These are the countries of the region’s common desire and responsibility.”

Taiwan and China were divided during a civil war in 1949, but China claims the island as its own territory and has not ruled out the use of military force to take it, while maintaining that it is a domestic political issue.

Washington pursues a “one-China” policy that recognizes Beijing but allows informal relations and defensive ties with Taipei. It supplies weapons to Taiwan and follows a “strategic ambiguity” approach on how far it would be willing to go to defend Taiwan in the face of a Chinese invasion. At the same time, it does not support Taiwanese independence.

President Joe Biden raised his eyebrows and China’s irritation last month, saying the United States would intervene militarily if Taiwan was attacked, though the White House later said the comments did not reflect a political shift.

Austin on Saturday accused China of threatening to change the status quo in Taiwan with a “shock increase in provocative and destabilizing military activity” near the island.

Wei on Sunday denied that the United States did not adhere to its “one-China” policy, saying that “it will continue to play the Taiwan card against China.”

He said China’s “biggest wish” was “peaceful reunification” with Taiwan, but also made it clear that Beijing was willing to do whatever it took to achieve its goals.

“China will definitely realize its reunification,” he said. “China’s reunification is a big issue for the Chinese nation, and it is a historical trend that no one and no power can stop.”

He added that China “would resolutely crush any attempt to pursue Taiwan’s independence.”

“We will not hesitate to fight, we will fight at all costs, and we will fight to the last,” he said. “This is the only choice for China.”

Wei and Austin met one-on-one on Saturday, and Taiwan was prominent in their discussions, according to the United States.

On Sunday, Wei met with Australian Defense Minister Richard Marles, who Australian Broadcasting Corp. reported was the first high-level meeting between the two countries in more than two years.

Marles said it was three years ago that Chinese and Australian defense ministers met, calling the meeting a “critical first step”.

“As Sec. Austin noted after his own meeting with Secretary of Defense Wei, it’s really important in these times to have open lines of dialogue,” he told reporters.

“Australia and China’s relationship is complex, and it’s precisely because of this complexity that it’s really important that we enter into dialogue right now.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.