• 04 June, 2023
Geopolitics & National Security

Taking China as threat and adversary will be historic and strategic mistake: Chinese Defence Minister

Sun, 12 Jun 2022   |  Reading Time: 2 minutes

Singapore, Jun 12 (PTI) It will be a historic and strategic mistake to insist on taking China as a threat and adversary, or even an enemy, Chinese Defence Minister General Wei Fengh said on Sunday as he underlined that the China-US relationship is at a critical and crucial juncture.

“China believes that a stable China-US relationship serves the interest of both countries and the rest of the world,” he said while addressing the Shangri-La Dialogue here. China and the US cooperation is vital for global peace and development, he said. “Confrontation will benefit neither of our two countries nor other countries. China opposes using competition to define bilateral relations,” he said.

He added that it will be a historic and strategic mistake to insist on taking China as a threat and adversary, or even an enemy. He told the US side to stop interfering in China’s internal affairs and stop harming China’s interests. “Bilateral relations cannot improve unless the US side does that,” he said.

US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin on Saturday accused China of causing instability with its claim to the self-governing island of Taiwan and its “destabilising military activity” in the area. Taiwan and China split during a civil war in 1949, but China claims the self-ruled island as a rebel province that should be reunified with the mainland even by force.

China has opposed arms sales from the US to Taiwan. During talks between Austin and Wei here, the Chinese defence minister said the Chinese government and military will “resolutely smash any Taiwan independence plot and resolutely safeguard the reunification of the motherland.” China also claims nearly all of the disputed South China Sea, though Taiwan, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam all claim parts of it.

Beijing has built artificial islands and military installations in the South China Sea. China also has territorial disputes with Japan in the East China Sea. The South China Sea and the East China Sea are stated to be rich in minerals, oil and other natural resources. They are also vital to global trade.

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Kalidan Singh

Jun 12, 2022
Despite Mr. Fengh's bluster, it is hard to take Chinese pronouncements seriously. Since WWII, no country except China has acted to encroach on other people's property (Tibet, Ladakh, Arunachal). China has no real enemies; no one is interested in Chinese territory, nor in controlling China. What China finds galling is that the world does not take them seriously enough, or better yet, supplicate to them. They are chagrined that the world does not respond to them in ways they would like; it has led them to engage furiously in military buildup. Yet they scare no one. This must be galling. They can draw some inspiration from others. Britain produced armies of Brown Sahibs in India, ready to kick their neighbors and kin to lick British boots; so eager were they to be accepted in the all things English. Indian school kids read Kipling (a white supremacist), and thought of Churchill as the hero (despite directly killing 16 million Indians); and send their children to die for the British crown. Now, like it or not, that is soft power. Saudis - by spending serious coin - had Malaysians and Indonesians declared themselves Saudis (a person with the last name Sayyed, changed to Al Sayyed - so that he is regarded as a Saudi). Now who in the world is trying to be Chinese? Or affecting Chinese ways of life, showing eagerness to become Chinese? Who is humming Chinese pop tunes (the whole world rocked to American music). Who is watching Chinese movies and hanging pictures of their stars in their bedrooms? No one. China has spent billions in Pakistan, Africa, Sri Lanka. Sure. Are they learning Chinese and becoming Chinese? Doesn't look like it. They've taken the money, and then told China to take a hike. I.e., the effect of economic power amounts to zero without soft power. This should concern China. Military power? Never have they prosecuted a serious war. Now they want to scare US (and its allies)? This is a joke. They are not paying attention to the overwhelming evidence that the US will not be pushed around, and responds decisively when pushed too far. This general is better advised to focus on soft power. When people across the world clamor to live in China, are willing to enroll in their army, and watch their movies and sing their pop tunes - they may have some claim to power.

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