November 23, 2022
BEIJING – The United States must respect China’s core interests concerning the Taiwan question, State Councilor and Defense Minister General Wei Fenghe told his United States counterpart during their meeting in Cambodia on Tuesday, as both sides agreed to maintain communication and work together to manage crises.
The meeting took place at the request of US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on the sidelines of the 9th ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Meeting-Plus in Cambodia’s Siem Reap province.
It was the second face-to-face meeting between Wei and Austin and the first since US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s widely criticized visit to Taiwan in August, which resulted in a further deterioration of China-US relations.
Wei said the US is to blame for the frayed ties and noted that while China values their relationship, the US must respect China’s core interests, according to a news release from the Ministry of National Defense.
The senior defense official said President Xi Jinping and US President Joe Biden reached a consensus on various matters during their talks on the sidelines of the recently concluded G20 Summit in Indonesia, charting the course for the improvement of China-US relations.
The meeting took place at the request of US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on the sidelines of the 9th ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Meeting-Plus in Cambodia’s Siem Reap province
During their summit, Biden said the US does not support “Taiwan independence”, “two Chinas” or “one China, one Taiwan”, and emphasized that the US has no intention of engaging in conflict with China.
Wei urged the US to honor its commitments, implement the consensus reached by the two presidents and adopt a rational and pragmatic China policy, which will put bilateral ties back on the track.
He stressed that the Taiwan question is at the very core of China’s interests and a red line that must not be crossed. He said that resolving the Taiwan question is a matter for the Chinese, and no external force has the right to interfere.
Wei also emphasized that the Chinese military is unyielding, assured, confident and capable of resolutely safeguarding national reunification between the mainland and the island.
During their talks, Wei and Austin agreed that the nations’ two militaries should earnestly implement the important consensus reached by the two presidents, maintain engagement and communication, strengthen crisis management and control and strive to maintain regional security and stability.
The two defense chiefs also exchanged views on international and regional issues, including the Ukraine crisis, the South China Sea and the Korean Peninsula affairs.