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Defense minister urges better Washington ties

By Zhao Lei | China Daily | Updated: 2018-10-26 08:16
Participants in the Eighth Beijing Xiangshan Forum have a conversation on Thursday in Beijing. The three-day forum, which ends on Friday, aims to strengthen regional security dialogues and to enhance international peace and development. [Photo by Wang Zhuangfei/China Daily]

Official blames United States for tensions in bilateral relations

A senior military official criticized the United States on Thursday for creating tension and damaging Sino-US relations, and pressed for mutual respect and cooperation.

"Who is going against historical trends?" General Wei Fenghe, state councilor and defense minister, asked the audience at the Eighth Beijing Xiangshan Forum on Thursday morning in the Chinese national capital.

"Recently, a senior US leader slandered China in a speech, claiming China meddled in US internal affairs and also threw out groundless accusations on our domestic and foreign policies. Such acts have seriously jeopardized Sino-US ties and our mutual trust and cooperation."

He said China urges the US to correct its mistakes and stop damaging China's interests and Sino-US ties. He also said China does not believe in confrontation-based security and that the world should not return to the path of the Cold War.

The defense minister stressed that Sino-US military relations are important and sensitive. He said both sides should fulfill instructions from top leaders of the two countries and avoid confrontation and conflicts.

Wei also asked both militaries to practice mutual respect and cooperation to make their relations a "stabilizer" in the two nations' ties.

Wei said that China will never give up "one single piece" of its territory, adding that the Chinese armed forces are determined to safeguard the country's sovereignty, security and development interests.

The Taiwan question concerns China's sovereignty and territorial integrity and is about the nation's core interests, according to the general.

"Repeatedly challenging our bottom line (on the Taiwan question) is extremely dangerous. If someone attempts to split Taiwan from China, the Chinese military will take any necessary actions at any cost," Wei stressed.

Wei also said that China's construction of necessary defense facilities on its islands in the South China Sea is a lawful implementation of the country's sovereignty over those regions and has nothing to do with "militarization".

He noted that the situation in the South China Sea has been stable and is becoming better, which proves that nations in this region are capable of properly handling related issues.

"China strongly stands against some out-of-the-region countries flexing their muscles and making provocations under the name of 'freedom of navigation and flight' that result in tensions," Wei said.

Senior Colonel Wu Qian, a spokesman for the Defense Ministry, said at a news conference on Thursday afternoon that good military-to-military relations are in the interest of both China and the US and require joint efforts from both sides.

He said the US has been frequently sending its military aircraft and ships to the South China Sea and drawing out-of-the-region parties to stage targeted exercises and patrols, which are actually militarization acts in the South China Sea.

Talking about US Defense Secretary James Mattis' invitation to Wei for a US visit, Wu said the two sides' defense authorities are in close communication on this matter.

Zhang Zhihao contributed to this story.

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