‘Smash to smithereens’: China threatens all-out war over Taiwan
10 June 2022
China will “not hesitate to start a war” and “smash to smithereens” any Taiwan independence efforts, its defence minister warned his US counterpart in the pair’s first face-to-face talks.
“If anyone dares to split Taiwan from China, the Chinese army will definitely not hesitate to start a war no matter the cost,” Defence Minister Wei Fenghe said during a meeting with Lloyd Austin on Friday.
“The PLA [People’s Liberation Army] would have no choice but to fight … and crush any attempt of Taiwan independence, safeguarding national sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
Despite the combative words, Wei said the talks with Austin “went smoothly”.
The meeting took place on the sidelines of the Shangri-La Dialogue security summit in Singapore for nearly an hour, double the time initially allotted.
The Chinese minister also pledged that Beijing would “smash to smithereens any Taiwan independence plot and resolutely uphold the unification of the motherland”, according to the Chinese defence ministry.
“Taiwan is China’s Taiwan… Using Taiwan to contain China will never prevail,” it said in a statement.
Beijing claims self-ruled Taiwan as its own and has not ruled out the use of force to take control of the island.
Austin told Wei that Beijing must “refrain from further destabilising actions toward Taiwan”, the Pentagon said.
An American official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said most of the meeting focused on Taiwan and Austin reiterated Washington’s position on Taiwan was unchanged, while criticising China’s “military aggression”.
“The United States has major concerns about increasing PLA behaviour, particularly unsafe, aggressive, unprofessional behaviour and is concerned that the PLA may be attempting to change the status quo through its operational behaviour,” the official said.
A Chinese fighter aircraft dangerously intercepted an Australian military surveillance plane in the South China Sea region in May, and Canada’s military accused Chinese warplanes of harassing its patrol aircraft as they monitor North Korea sanction evasions.
Austin and Wei’s first face-to-face meeting comes as US President Joe Biden is seeking to spend more time on Asian security issues after months of focus on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.