‘Taiwan independence’ means war: Chinese lieutenant general
Published: Jun 01, 2024 05:53 PM
Lieutenant General Jing Jianfeng, deputy chief of the Joint Staff Department of China's Central Military Commission. File photo: VCG

Lieutenant General Jing Jianfeng, deputy chief of the Joint Staff Department of China's Central Military Commission. File photo: VCG

Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) will never allow Taiwan island to be split from China. "Taiwan independence" means war, Lieutenant General Jing Jianfeng, deputy chief of the Joint Staff Department of China's Central Military Commission, said during a press conference held by the Chinese delegation following US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin's speech on Saturday morning during the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore. 

Regarding the Taiwan question, Jing said the reason why China took military countermeasures around Taiwan island is to thwart aggressive "Taiwan independence" secessionist activities and deter external interference using greater capacity, stronger measures and firmer resolve. 

Jing responded to remarks made by Austin that covered various aspects including the US Asia-Pacific alliance partnerships, China-US military relations, Taiwan question, and South China Sea issue.

Regarding the Taiwan question, Jing said Taiwan has been an inalienable part of China's sacred territory since ancient times. Legally binding international documents such as the Cairo Declaration, the Potsdam Proclamation, and United Nations General Assembly Resolution 2758 all clearly affirm China's sovereignty over Taiwan, which is also an integral part of the post-war international order. The Taiwan question is the most important and sensitive core issue in China-US relations. The three principles are preconditions for the establishment of bilateral diplomatic ties, namely, the US severing so-called diplomatic relations with Taiwan island, abrogating the mutual defense treaty with the Taiwan authorities, and withdrawing US military forces from Taiwan island. In recent years, the US has broken its promises, obscured and hollowed out the one-China principle, supported and armed Taiwan island for independence, thus stirring up trouble in the Taiwan Straits. 

Jing said the current situation in the Taiwan Straits is grave. Figures like new Taiwan regional leader Lai Ching-te have betrayed the Chinese nation and our ancestors by blatantly advocating for separatist theories and attempting to seek "independence" through soliciting foreign support or by force, pushing Taiwan island further toward the abyss of disaster. They are the culprits damaging the cross-Straits status quo and causing more harm to regional stability than anyone else. China will never cease enhancing combat readiness, never relent in our fight against "Taiwan independence" separatists, and never tolerate external interference. The Chinese military will take resolute actions to fulfill our mission of safeguarding national sovereignty.

Jing said the US' "Indo-Pacific Strategy" is merely political rhetoric that sounds good but achieves no good. It is built on forming exclusive clubs based on Cold War mentality and a zero-sum mind-set under the guise of advancing regional cooperation. The true motive of the US is to converge small circles into a larger one, akin to an Asia-Pacific version of NATO, in order to maintain US-led hegemony. 

The "Indo-Pacific Strategy," by its nature, aims to create division, provoke confrontation, and undermine stability. It solely serves the selfish geopolitical interests of the US, running counter to the tide of history and the shared aspirations of regional countries for peace, development, and win-win cooperation. This strategy is destined to yield no positive outcomes, Jing noted.

Jing said such small circles will bring more harm than good to their members. Even Americans themselves often advocate the adage of "speaking softly and carrying a big stick." The US often uses partnership as bait to entice regional countries into becoming its proxies to shoulder the burden for the US. From the Saigon moment to the fall of Kabul, partners of the US have become victims one after another, clearly revealing the selfish nature of the US. "This reminds me of a saying by late US secretary of state Henry Kissinger, and here I quote: 'To be America's enemy is dangerous but to be America's friend is fatal.'"

In terms of the South China Sea issue, Jing said Austin endorsed the Philippines and insinuated China's legitimate operations to protect China's rights was wrong. "This makes no sense," he said.

Jing said that at present, the South China Sea is overall stable. One-third of international maritime trade, or half of global merchant ships, pass through this waterway, including those of the US, even when US warships come uninvited. How can one claim that there is no freedom of navigation in the South China Sea? The US narratives are far from the truth and can only create unnecessary panic. 

China and ASEAN countries are neighbors that cannot move away from each other. It's natural for neighbors to bicker sometimes, but we need to resolve disagreements through dialogue and consultation rather than inviting wolves into our house and playing with fire.

On China-US military ties, Jing said the stable development of China-US military-to-military relations serves the common interests of both sides and aligns with the prevailing aspirations of the international community. The two militaries need to follow through on the consensus reached between the heads of state, uphold non-conflict and non-confrontation principles, and serve as anchors of stability in the China-US state-to-state relationship. China hopes the US side will honor its words with deeds, take concrete actions to uphold the principles of harmony, prioritize stability, and maintain credibility. Moreover, it is encouraged to increase communication and cooperation with the Chinese side to find the right path of engagement that serves the common interests of both sides and meets the aspirations of the world.