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China’s defense minister pushes back at US over Taiwan – POLITICO

SINGAPORE — In his first worldwide look since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, China’s Defense Minister Wei Fenghe targeted on one goal for all the world’s crises: the United States.

From Taiwan to Ukraine, in expressed or implied language, Wei on Sunday zeroed in on Washington, doubled down on the Chinese army’s readiness to struggle, and caught to Beijing’s subtly pro-Kremlin line. The robust messaging — a shock even to some long-time China watchers attending the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore — got here a day after his U.S. counterpart, Lloyd Austin, singled out China because the supply of instability within the Indo-Pacific area.

Significantly, although, Wei was prompted to say that China has “not supplied any weapons” to Russia to be deployed in Ukraine. He additionally repeatedly referred to as it a “war” throughout the unscripted question-and-answer session, going past the standard label of “conflict.”

But there’s little room for confusion as to who ought to bear probably the most blame for the state of affairs from Beijing’s perspective. According to the Chinese defense minister, Ukraine, Russia, China, Europe and the discussion board’s host nation Singapore are all affected by the implications of the struggle.

He didn’t title the U.S.

“Who is the mastermind behind it [the war in Ukraine]?” Wei stated. “Who stands to gain the most? … Who’s adding fuel to the fire?”

Instead of asking Russia to withdraw troops, Wei stated it’s time for the U.S. and NATO to speak to Russia to “create conditions for an early ceasefire.”

“Those who tie the bell on the tiger should take it off,” he stated, invoking a cliched Chinese expression.

Wei reserved his most uncompromising message for Taiwan.

“Those who pursue Taiwanese independence in an attempt to split China will definitely come to no good end. No one should ever underestimate the resolve and ability of the Chinese armed forces to safeguard its territorial integrity,” he stated. “We will fight at all cost and we will fight to the very end. This is the only choice for China.”

As if the message wasn’t clear sufficient, Wei stated it will be “a path to death” if Taiwan was to declare independence from China.

A European diplomat described Wei’s feedback on Taiwan as “stronger than usual,” noting that Wei is now equating Taiwan’s ruling social gathering, the Democratic Progressive Party, as independence advocates.

Harsh rhetoric apart, Wei carried out a number of necessary bilateral conferences — together with with U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin — at a time when Beijing stays largely off-limits to overseas official guests because of the strict pandemic insurance policies.

Notably, he met along with his new Australian counterpart, Richard Marles, on Sunday, the primary such assembly after a three-year hiatus amid a worsening relationship between Canberra and Beijing.

“It was a full and frank discussion, which we feel is a very important first step,” Marles instructed reporters afterward, wanting to painting a slowly warming dynamic completely different from the earlier authorities’s hostile angle to China.

Marles stated he wouldn’t “underestimate the difficulties” with Beijing, however added: “The fact that we’ve been able to have this meeting today is an important step in the process.”