Chinese General accuses US. Defence Secretary of distorting truth on Taiwan during Shangri-La Dialogue

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Lt. Gen. Jing Jianfeng spoke at the Shangri-La Dialogue.

3rd June 2023 – (Singapore) Lt. Gen. Jing Jianfeng, deputy chief of the PLA Joint Staff Department, flatly accused US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin of “seriously distorting facts and truth” regarding Taiwan’s status after Austin’s recent remarks at the Shangri-La Dialogue.

Jing argues that Austin’s comments ignore the basic reality that there is only one China in the world of which Taiwan is an inalienable part. The “one China” principle, Jing says, represents the international consensus and a sacred duty for all Chinese – including Taiwanese – to achieve reunification.

However, Jing claims the US is deliberately undermining the “one China” principle by strengthening ties with Taipei, supporting Taiwan independence movements, ramping up arms sales to Taiwan, increasing U.S. military activity around Taiwan, and encouraging other countries to interfere in the Taiwan issue.

At the Shangri-La Dialogue, Austin said the US network of allies in Asia would help deter coercion, especially in the Taiwan Strait. He reiterated that the US doesn’t seek conflict but won’t “flinch” from standing up to “bullying or coercion.”

Jing warned that the Chinese military is “fully prepared” to fight for Beijing’s goal of “reunification,” saying countermeasures taken around Taiwan target separatist and foreign interference “justifiably”.

Jing stressed that China – not the U.S. or Taiwan independence supporters – honours the status quo in the Taiwan Strait. He argued that those seeking Taiwan’s independence and the U.S. using Taiwan to contain China have altered that status quo, increasing tensions.

The general emphasized that the Taiwan issue involves China’s core interests and “no concessions will be made.” The PLA, he said, stands ready to defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity.

While the U.S. acknowledges Beijing views Taiwan as part of China, it does not agree with this position. Like most countries, Washington does not recognise Taiwan as a sovereign state and opposes Taiwanese independence. However, the US expects the Taiwan issue to be resolved peacefully through dialogue.

The warning signs from China are clear: it will not tolerate what it sees as unacceptable distortions and interference on the Taiwan issue by the US or others. De-escalating tensions and finding common ground in this dispute will require careful diplomacy and meaningful engagement from all sides.