Singapore — Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III Following a meeting with Chinese defense minister General Wei Fenghe, who focused on preventing regional tensions from developing into a crisis, he said he was “provocative and unstable” near the conflict island in Taiwan. I warned China on Saturday for what I called.
Taiwan is an autonomous island that Beijing claims to be its own country, and is one of the topics of the meeting between Mr. Austin and General Wei in Singapore on Friday, including the conflict in the sea around China and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Was included. Austin amplified his warning in his speech to the Shangri-La Dialogue, a security conference in Singapore, claiming that Washington did not support independent Taiwan.
“Our policy hasn’t changed, but unfortunately it doesn’t seem to apply to China,” Austin said on Saturday, referring to the People’s Republic of China. “We can see that the coercion from Beijing is increasing. In the suburbs of Taiwan, provocative and unstable military activities are steadily increasing.”
Austin said the increase in People’s Liberation Army flights near Taiwan reflects China’s growing pressure on neighboring countries, including India, Japan and Southeast Asian countries, which challenge China’s vast claims in the South China Sea. Stated. But he suggested that the most volatile problem is the future of Taiwan, an island of 24 million inhabitants just off the coast of China.
Since 1949, when nationalist troops fled China for Taiwan, the island’s situation and future have been controversial. Beijing claims it to be its sovereign territory. Most people in Taiwan reject the claim and, in fact, want to stay away from the People’s Republic of China, if not by law. Washington has long argued that neither side should unilaterally try to change Taiwan’s position, but US law also helps defend the island and intervenes in the event of a war. I admit that.
Austin said that the US policy on Taiwan is Recent Comments by President Biden..
“We are firmly opposed to unilateral changes to the status quo from either side. We do not support Taiwan’s independence,” Austin said, and the United States “is the safety and society of the Taiwanese people.” It will maintain the ability to resist the use of forces and other forms of coercion that endanger the target or economic system. ” .. “
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On Friday, General Wei blames the United States for exacerbating tensions over Taiwan, telling Austin that selling US arms to the island “will seriously hurt China’s sovereignty and security interests.” Stated. Said in the summary of their meeting..
According to China’s official summary, “using Taiwan to contain China will never succeed,” General Wei said.
General Wei will address the forum on Sunday, giving him the opportunity to respond to Mr Austin’s speech.
Friday’s meeting between Mr Austin and General Wei is the second bilateral meeting following the April phone call, despite fears that conflicts between the two countries could increase and miscalculations could be at stake. It was a meeting.
“Mr. Austin emphasized the importance of the PLA engaging in substantive dialogue on improving crisis communication and mitigating strategic risks,” the Pentagon said in a statement after the meeting.
Despite the mass sparring over Taiwan, both sides also showed that Mr Austin and General Wei made some progress during their meeting, which lasted about an hour. Senior Colonel Janice Wu, a spokesman for the Ministry of Defense of China, told Singapore’s reporters that the talks also covered the war in the South China Sea (where China’s broad territorial claims are being contested by Southeast Asian countries) and Ukraine.
“China has always believed that it is better to meet than not to meet, and to talk than not to meet,” said Colonel Wu. He added that the talks marked a “very good start” for improved contact between US and Chinese troops.
China has bent its military power in Asia in the way it is ringing alarms in the region and in Washington.Recently, U.S. allies have complained about Chinese military aircraft. Harass their planesFly close enough for pilots to see each other, or perform provocative and dangerous operations such as releasing metal rice husks in the path of Australian aircraft.
These “dangerous interceptions,” Austin said, “we all need to worry.” “Misses are especially noticeable in the Taiwan Strait,” he said.
Last month, China and Russia conducted a joint military exercise, sending bombers over the waters of Northeast Asia while Mr. Biden was visiting Northeast Asia.
“Chinese may be testing US allies to see if they’re retreating,” said an American enterprise study that was studying US policy in Asia and attending a dialogue in Singapore. Zack Cooper, a senior researcher at the institute, said. “They are likely to test these other countries to see if they have low risk tolerance.”
But Taiwan is probably the biggest source of tension between the United States and China. US officials and military commanders are worried that Chinese leader Xi Jinping may be willing to go to war over Taiwan in the coming years.Mr. Biden Display several times If Beijing launches an invasion, the United States will provide military assistance to protect Taiwan. In recent years, China has escalated military activities near Taiwan and sent jets into the air defense identification zone.
“In the short to medium term, Taiwan’s conflicts are much more likely to happen by accident than by design,” a report released at the Singapore Forum by the International Institute for Strategic Studies, a British think tank. “Certainly, as China’s coercion against Taiwan increases, the risk of inadvertent escalation increases.”
China has been angry with Washington’s support for Taiwan. Strengthen trade relations with the islandI blame it for fueling tensions in the area. Chinese officials also oppose the Biden administration’s widespread efforts to build an alliance against China.Chinese government blamed Security contract Supporting Australia’s expansion among Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States last year Nuclear submarineRaises expectations that it will participate in any military conflict with Beijing.
The risk of conflict increases as China’s army expands to the second largest in the world, the Navy becomes comparable to the size of the United States, and Beijing becomes increasingly impatient with the presence of U.S. forces throughout Asia. I am.
However, Covid’s restrictions and disagreements over meeting arrangements, such as who Austin’s counterparts are, hinder high-level discussions between Chinese and American military leaders.
Despite similar titles, Austin and General Wei occupy very different ranks. Austin is the Pentagon’s highest-ranking American citizen. The Chinese defense minister is a relatively junior, and his main job is contact with foreign countries. Austin has not yet met with Mr. Nishi, a Chinese leader who is also the chairman of the Central Military Commission, and other senior officials on the commission.
Nonetheless, experts attending the forum in Singapore found value in the conference between the two men. Over the past few decades, China and the United States have built patchwork of agreements and communications lines aimed at avoiding misunderstandings and conflicts at sea or in the air that could lead to broader conflicts. .. But Beijing and Washington haven’t looked at how to reduce these risks.
In his speech, Austin said, “We will fly, sail and operate as long as international law allows. We will do this with our partners.”
Eric Schmidt contributed to the report from Washington.