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Resolving 'Taiwan question' is greatest national interest, says China's defence minister

Resolving 'Taiwan question' is greatest national interest, says China's defence minister

File photo of China's Defense Minister General Wei Fenghe. (Photo: Reuters/Adriano Machado)

BEIJING: The Chinese defence minister said on Monday (Oct 21) that resolving the "Taiwan question" is China's greatest national interest, and that no force can prevent China's "reunification".

Separatist activities are doomed to failure, Defence Minister Wei Fenghe said at the opening in Beijing of the Xiangshan Forum.

"China is the only major country in the world that is yet to be completely reunified," General Wei said.

"Resolving the Taiwan question so as to realise China's full reunification is the irresistible trend of the times, China's greatest national interest, the righteous path to follow and the longing of all Chinese people."

During last year's forum, General Wei said China's army will take action "at any cost" to foil attempts to separate Taiwan.

Tensions between China and Taiwan have ratcheted up since then, ahead of a presidential election on the island in January. 

China has also been angered by US support for Taiwan, including arms sales. Washington has no formal ties with Taipei, but is bound by law to provide the island with the means to defend itself.

The US and China are also locked in a bitter trade war, though they have been holding talks to end it.

"No one and no force can ever stop China's full reunification. We are committed to promoting the peaceful development of cross-Taiwan strait relations and the peaceful reunification of the country," Wei said.

"However we will never allow separatists for Taiwan independence to have their way, nor allow interference by any external forces. Advancing china's reunification is a just cause, while separatist activities are doomed to failure."

Taiwan has lambasted China for its authoritarian rule and for being a threat to regional peace, while China has heaped pressure on Taiwan, whittling away at its few remaining diplomatic allies.

China regards Taiwan as its territory, to be brought under Beijing's rule, by force if needed, a message President Xi Jinping reiterated at the start of this year.

This year's Xianghsan Forum opened on Oct 20 under the theme Maintaining International Order and Promoting Peace in the Asia Pacifc, and will end on Oct 22.

The annual forum - China’s equivalent of the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore - brings together high-level defence, military and foreign affairs leaders from around the world to discuss a range of security issues.

Source: Agencies/mn


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