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China hits back hard on US defense secretary’s statement on Taiwan

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The Taiwan question bears on China’s core interest and there is no room to concede or compromise. The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) remains fully prepared and ready to firmly defend China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity at any time, Jing Jianfeng, the PLA’s deputy chief of the joint staff department of the Central Military Commission, lieutenant general, said in responding to US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin’s keynote speech at the Shangri-La Dialogue on Saturday during a press conference in Singapore.

Jing stressed three basic facts on the Taiwan questions. First, there is but one China in the world and Taiwan island is an inalienable part of China’s territory. Second, the one-China principle represents the universal consensus of the international community. It is a universally recognized basic norm governing international relations. Third, it is the common aspiration and sacred responsibility of all Chinese people, including Taiwan compatriots, to realize national reunification.

Austin’s comments on the Taiwan question represent a serious distortion of facts and are completely wrong, Jing said, adding that the US has been obscuring and hollowing out the one-China policy, strengthening official interactions with the Taiwan island, indulging in separatist activities which seek “Taiwan independence,” boosting arm sales to Taiwan island in both qualitative and quantitative terms, frequently sailing through the Taiwan Straits to flex its muscles and ganging up with other countries to interfere on the Taiwan question.

Jing stressed that China’s military operations around Taiwan island are exactly targeted at “Taiwan independence” separatist forces and external forces’ interference. China’s actions are completely justified.

The label of changing the status quo cannot be pinned on China. The US is using Taiwan island to contain China, and “Taiwan independence” separatist forces are soliciting US support for independence. These moves are changing the status quo, escalating tensions and undermining stability, Jing added.

In his speech on Saturday morning, Austin said that the US remains deeply committed to preserving the status quo in the Taiwan Straits, consistent with fulfilling US well-established obligations under the Taiwan Relations Act, and will continue to categorically oppose unilateral changes to the status quo from either side.

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