Chinese Defense Minister: army will take action ‘at any costs’ to prevent Taiwan split

The minister said that it is extremely dangerous to repeatedly challenge China’s bottom line

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Wei meeting with U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis earlier this year (Flickr/James N. Mattis)

Wei meeting with U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis earlier this year (Flickr/James N. Mattis)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe said in a speech at China’s Xiangshan security forum today (Oct. 25) that China will never give up an inch of its territory.

Reuters quoted Wei talking about Taiwan: “On this issue, it is extremely dangerous to repeatedly challenge China’s bottom line. If someone tries to separate out Taiwan (from China), China’s army will take the necessary actions at any cost.”

The official added that military ties between China and the U.S. are both sensitive and important.

The CPP still appears to be rattled by the U.S. navy sailing two ships through the Taiwan Strait earlier this month, which U.S. officials claimed was part of a freedom of navigation exercise. It marked the second time this year the U.S. navy has entered the Taiwan Strait, boosting hope on the island that it will jump to Taiwan’s defense in the event of an attack.

China has long avowed to challenge any attempts by Taiwan to formally declare independence, with the nation’s rhetoric becoming much more forthright and aggressive since the Xi administration took power and gained more influence internationally.

In China’s 19th Communist Party congressional address in Oct. 2017, Xi Jinping declared: “We have the resolve, the confidence, and the ability to defeat separatist attempts for ‘Taiwan independence’ in any form. We will never allow anyone, any organization, or any political party, at any time or in any form, to separate any part of Chinese territory from China!”

At this year’s National People’s Congress in Beijing, Xi declared that China would continue to advance attempts at a “peaceful unification” with Taiwan but also stated the nation is ready to fight “the bloody battle” necessary to regain primacy within the global political system.

China has also taken a number of direct actions throughout the year to intimidate Taiwan. The country’s air force conducted military drills around the island back in May, while Taiwan’s Ministry of Defense detected two Chinese naval ships sailing off the island’s southern coast in June. Beijing also claimed to be conducting a live-fire military drill earlier this year on an area the size of Taiwan.

China-U.S. relations have simultaneously continued to deteriorate throughout 2018. Alongside the ongoing trade war, the Trump administration undertook a number of actions regarding Taiwan that severely bruised China’s ego this year, including signing a travel act for diplomatic visits between high-ranking U.S. and Taiwanese officials, and a new U.S. defense bill that includes provisions to improve Taiwan’s defense capabilities.

As the U.S. continues to step up support for Taiwan, it is likely to be on the receiving end of more animosity from China. Donald Trump and Xi Jinping are currently still set to meet at this year’s G20 Summit in Buenos Aires.