The US’s mishandling of the Taiwan issue will be detrimental to their ties with Beijing, Defense Minister Wei Fenghe said.
Washington’s mishandling of the Taiwan issue could “ruin” effect on bilateral relations with Beijing, Chinese Defense Minister General Wei Fenghe told his American counterpart Lloyd Austin on Wednesday.
During the 45-minute phone call initiated by the US side, Wei reiterated Beijing’s position that Taiwan is a “inalienable part of China”, insist that “it was a fact and a status quo that no one could change.”
According to a statement from the Chinese Ministry of Defense, the Chinese armed forces wanted to do everything possible to protect the territorial integrity of the country.
Wei also warned Austin about US mishandling of the Taiwan issue “would have a devastating impact on bilateral relations.”
Despite Beijing’s recognition as the only legitimate authority in China since 1979, Washington maintains unofficial ties to the self-governed island of Taiwan, actively supporting its pursuit of independence and supplying it with weapons.
Last week, the Chinese military staged major exercises in the Taiwan Strait during the visit of a leading delegation of US senators to Taipei.
The Russian military operation in Ukraine was also one of the topics discussed, with Wei insisting that the US should not use the crisis “Blame and pressure China.”
In March, US President Joe Biden told Chinese leader Xi Jinping that there would be “implications” if Beijing has provided material support to Moscow during the conflict.
China has so far been reluctant to condemn the Russian military operation or impose sanctions on Moscow, maintaining a neutral position.
Some US military analysts have also urged Beijing to closely monitor events in Ukraine and learn lessons in preparation for its own attack on Taiwan.
READ MORE: China rejects US ‘pressure or coercion’ on Russia
China’s defense minister said Beijing is “healthy and stable relationship” with Washington, where the armies of the two countries would strengthen their dialogue and engage in pragmatic cooperation. However, the Americans “shouldn’t underestimate China’s determination and competence” to protect his interests, Wei added.
It was the first meeting between the two ministers since Austin took charge of the Pentagon more than a year ago.