See More on Facebook

Diplomacy

Chinese Defence Minister Wei says China ready to fight US on trade but door open for talks

The Chinese Defense Minister was speaking at the Shangri La Dialogue in Singapore.


Written by

Updated: June 3, 2019

Chinese Defence Minister Wei Fenghe on Sunday (June 2) reiterated China’s stand on its trade friction with the United States, saying his country’s door is open if the US wants to talk but that it would “fight till the end” if a fight is what Washington wants.

The highest-level Chinese official to speak at the Shangri-La Dialogue in nearly a decade – Defence Minister Liang Guanglie spoke in 2011 – General Wei set out China’s position on several issues of concern to the Asian power and also the region.

He spoke out strongly on the Taiwan question, the first issue he raised in his speech, indicating its importance to China, stressing that China and the self-ruled island must be reunified.

He accused the US of interfering in China’s affairs through its Taiwan Relations Act, which governs Washington’s relations with the island that is seen by China as a breakaway province. The law allows the US to provide Taiwan with arms of a defensive nature, among other things.

“We can find no justifiable reasons for the US to interfere in the Taiwan question by its domestic law,” he said.

Gen Wei warned that no attempts to split China shall succeed and that “foreign intervention in the Taiwan question is doomed to failure”.
Analysts have said that China is increasingly worried about the US using Taiwan as a card in their relationship. The US under President Donald Trump has moved closer to Taiwan, including enacting a new Taiwan Travel Act that allows high-level US officials to visit Taiwan and vice versa.

The second issue raised by Gen Wei was the South China Sea.

Noting that the situation in the resource-rich waters, where China has overlapping claims with four Asean countries, is improving towards greater stability, he said there are “people trying to rake in profits by stirring up troubles in the region”, in a veiled reference to the US.

He justified China’s building of islands on rocks and reefs in the contested waters, saying “it is the legitimate rights of a sovereign state to carry out construction on its own territory”.

He also defended the building of military facilities on these reclaimed islands, saying: “In the face of heavily armed warships and military aircraft, how can we stay impervious and not build some defence facilities?”

Though he did not elaborate, he was in all likelihood referring to the freedom of navigation and overflight operations that the US military has been conducting in waters close to these islands.

Gen Wei also touched on China’s role in the North Korea nuclear issue, saying it is committed to denuclearisation, peace and stability of the Korean peninsula and to a negotiated solution through dialogue and consultation.

He pointed out that China has played “an irreplaceable and constructive role” in promoting peace talks between the US and North Korea.

On the all-important China-US relations, he urged that the two sides to work towards cooperation.

“The most valuable lesson we have learnt from the four-decade-long relationship is that cooperation benefits the two sides while confrontation hurts both,” he said.

He reassured his audience, consisting of defence ministers, senior military officials and academics from the region and beyond, that China pursues a path of peaceful development and does not seek hegemony.

Some analysts have noted that the growing China-US rivalry led to China sending a high-level delegation to the security summit this time.

This is particularly as the US expounded its Indo-Pacific Strategy to create a networked region to deal with challenges.

“They are worried that if China doesn’t come out and make a statement and explain China’s positions, perhaps more countries will be influenced by the US vision of the Indo-Pacific, and may become more subscribed to American ideas and policies,” said Associate Professor Li Mingjiang of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies.



Enjoyed this story? Share it.


About the Author: The Straits Times is Singapore's top-selling newspaper.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia


Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.



By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here

Diplomacy

U.S. lawmaker supports Taiwan arms sales

China has protested the sale in strong terms. Representative Michael McCaul, member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said on July 14 that the committee approved a recent U.S. arms sales to Taiwan in response to increased Chinese “aggression.” Speaking to Fox News’ Sunday Morning Futures, the Texas Congressman, who was one of the lawmakers to meet with President Tsai Ing-wen on Friday during her layover in New York, said “Chinese are getting very aggressive in Hong Kong, as you just heard. They are also getting very aggressive in Taiwan.” Green-lighting the arms sale, McCaul said, sends a very strong message to China. “We’re going to arm Taiwan, so she can defend herself from what’s become a very aggressive Chinese Communist Party right on their doorstep,” the Republican told host Maria Bartiromo. The U.S. announced July 8 a US$2.22 billion arms package to Taiwan th


By ANN Members
July 16, 2019

Diplomacy

S. Korean biz groups in emergency mode

Japan has ban the export of high tech materials to South Korea. South Korea’s major business groups are shifting to emergency mode, setting detailed contingency plans for a variety of scenarios amid concerns that the restrictions on exports of key tech materials from Japan to Korea could stay in place for a long time, according to the industry on Monday. The leaders of the country’s five biggest conglomerates — Samsung Electronics, Hyundai Motor Group, SK Group, LG Group and Lotte Group — are tightening their reins on the groups’ operations, bracing for possible ripple effects on the global economy and business environment as a result of Japan’s decision. Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong is spearheading an array of contingency plans. After coming back from a six-day trip to Tokyo last week, Lee convened a meeting with the top brass of the company’s semiconducto


By The Korea Herald
July 16, 2019

Diplomacy

Japan sees decline in value-added trade surplus with Korea

Tokyo’s export curbs to negatively impact global economy due to correlated trade structure. Japan’s trade surplus in value-added goods and services (TiVA) with South Korea took a downturn during the 2005-2015 period, reflecting the diversifying structure of logistics and trade, statistics showed Sunday. In light of the interconnection of the global value chain, the country’s recent curbs on hi-tech exports to Korea are likely to affect not only the two countries but also the regional and global economy in general, Seoul’s government officials noted.\ According to the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development, Japan logged $135.2 billion in aggregated TiVA from 2005 to 2015. Its total trade surplus during the same period stood at $303.2 billion. TiVA, in international trade is equivalent to operating profits of corporate business transactions, figuring out the value added by eac


By The Korea Herald
July 15, 2019

Diplomacy

India, Russia discuss joint production of space systems

The two countries met to discuss joint-cooperation projects. India and Russia on Friday discussed the possibilities for the production of space systems in India as part of the ‘Make in India’ programme. Director General of Russia’s ROSCOSMOS and former Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin held detailed high-level talks with National Security Adviser (NSA) Ajit Doval on all aspects of the India-Russia space cooperation. Senior representatives of ROSCOSMOS, GLAVCOSMOS, Energia and Energomash were present from the Russian side while the Secretary, Space and the Director of the Human Space Flight Programme were present from the Indian side, besides other senior officials. Both sides agreed to take a strategic approach to elevate bilateral cooperation to the next level keeping in view the special and privileged partnership between the two countries. Cooperation in futuristic technologies, includ


By The Statesman
July 15, 2019

Diplomacy

Hong Kong protests: Chaos speads to Sha Tin mall after rally ends

Protests continue, this time against Chinese vendors. Violent clashes between law enforcers and some protesters erupted yet again on Sunday (July 14) following a largely peaceful march hours earlier in the New Territories town of Sha Tin. About three hours after the rally ended at 5pm, police in riot gear began clearing the streets, setting off a game of cat and mouse with them and protesters trying to corner one another. Tensions peaked at about 9.30pm when officers armed with shields and batons entered New Town Plaza mall in Sha Tin and tried to disperse the crowd that was hiding there, resulting in chaos. Police officers were seen chasing after a protester, hitting him with batons and ripping his clothes off as they tried to pin him down before he managed to flee to safety with help from fellow protesters, who were trying to dodge pepper spray. Elsewhere in the mall, protesters surround


By The Straits Times
July 15, 2019

Diplomacy

A quick primer on the Japan – Korea trade dispute

We answer your frequently asked questions about this ongoing trade dispute between South Korea and Japan. This week has seen a raising of the stakes in the ongoing dispute between Japan and South Korea that threatens to disrupt the global supply chain for smartphones and chips and futher devolve into an all-out trade war. Starting on July 4, Japan began tightening restrictions on the export of three semiconductor raw materials the country sells to South Korea. Japan effectively removed South Korea from a list of “white nations” that receive preferential trade treatment. Now, Japanese manufacturers must apply for approval for each individual shipment to South Korea with a review process that’s expected to take about 90 days. The Japanese side has maintained that this is not an embargo, but rather rather a review of trade con


By Quinn Libson
July 12, 2019