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Taiwan separatists will be 'crushed': China defense minister

June 2, 2024

The Chinese defense minister has told a security forum that China's army would "forcefully" stop "Taiwan independence." Taiwan has slammed his comments, calling them "provocative and irrational."

Dong Jun seen speaking against a blue blackground
Chinese Defense Minister Dong Jun's remarks were met with a quick rebuke from Taiwan Image: Vincent Thian/AP Photo/picture alliance

Chinese Defense Minister Dong Jun said on Sunday that those trying to separate Taiwan from China would be "crushed and bring about their own downfall," according to Chinese state broadcaster CCTV.

His remarks at the Shangri-La Dialogue security conference in Singapore came just a week after China held military drills around the self-ruled island — which it claims as its own — that were widely seen as an intimidation attempt.

What else did Dong say?

Dong vowed that the Chinese People's Liberation Army would act "resolutely and forcefully" to prevent "Taiwan independence," the broadcaster said.

He also accused Taiwan's ruling Democratic Progressive Party of pursuing separatism step by step while undermining the island's Chinese identity.  

"Those separatists recently made fanatical statements that show their betrayal of the Chinese nation and their ancestors. They will be nailed to the pillar of shame in history," he said.

In what appeared to be an indirect reference to the US, which sells weapons to Taiwan, Dong also said that foreign powers were "emboldening Taiwan separatists" and undermining the "One China" principle with "salami slicing tactics."

These including selling arms to Taiwan and maintaining official contacts with it, he said, and were aimed at using Taiwan to contain China,

He said that China was committed to peaceful reunification but that this possibility was being thwarted by "Taiwan independence forces."

Chinese fighter jets preparing to take off during the 'Joint Sword-2024A' military drill at an unknown location
The recent Chinese drills included the deployment of fighter jets around TaiwanImage: EASTERN THEATER COMMAND OF THE PEOPLE'S LIBERATION ARMY/AFP

Taiwan condemns 'provocative and irrational' remarks

Taiwan has responded to Dong's remarks by saying it deeply regretted his "provocative and irrational" comments.

The Mainland Affairs Council, which is in charge of the island's policy toward China, reiterated that the People's Republic of China had never ruled the island.

It accused China of repeatedly threatening force against Taiwan at international venues, threats it said were in breach of the United Nations charter.

"It is an objective fact that the two sides of the Taiwan Strait are not subordinate to each other, and that is also the status quo in the strait," it said.

Although China regards Taiwan as part of the People's Republic, the island has had an independent government since 1949, when Chiang Kai-Shek evacuated his Nationalist government there after a defeat by the Communists in a civil war.

Tensions have risen across the Taiwan Strait since President Lai Ching-te, whom Beijing calls a "separatist," took power on May 20. Lai gave an inaugural address in which he urged Beijing to stop its intimidatory political and military actions.

tj/wd (dpa, Reuters)

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