Discussing China's vision for regional order, Chinese Defence Minister Wei Fenghe said that Beijing "will fight to the very end", adding that "no one should ever underestimate the resolve and ability of the Chinese armed forces to safeguard its territorial integrity".
Chinese leader's comment comes in response to US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin's speech yesterday where he asserted that Beijing's coercive, aggressive and dangerous actions threaten stability around Asia.
The Chinese Minister today said that those who pursue Taiwan independence in an attempt to split China will definitely come to no good end.
"We will fight at all cost, and we will fight to the very end," Fenghe said today.
"No one should ever underestimate the resolve and ability of the Chinese armed forces to safeguard its territorial integrity. Those who pursue Taiwanese independence in an attempt to split China will definitely come to no good end," he said further.
On Saturday, Austin at the premier defence forum taking place in Singapore said: "Indo-Pacific countries shouldn't face political intimidation, economic coercion, or harassment by maritime militias."
Pledging to support Taiwan in the face of growing Chinese assertiveness, he said "We remain firmly committed to our longstanding one-China policy--guided by the Taiwan Relations Act, the three Joint Communiques, and the Six Assurances. We categorically oppose any unilateral changes to the status quo from either side."
"The PRC's (People's Republic of China) moves to threaten to undermine security, and stability, and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific," Austin said while referring to the country by its official name.
"Now, as part of our one-China policy, we'll continue to fulfill our commitments under the Taiwan Relations Act. That includes assisting Taiwan in maintaining a sufficient self-defence capability. And it means maintaining our own capacity to resist any use of force or other forms of coercion that would jeopardize the security or the social or economic system of the people of Taiwan," he added.
In the major speech at the defence forum, the US defence chief also laid emphasis on a free and open Indo-Pacific, which he said was at the heart of American national security strategies, and the power of the partnerships that regional nations have built with the United States forms the core of a peaceful and prosperous world for all.
American strategists no longer talk about the "US pivot to Asia." That has happened. On the military side, Austin noted that the Indo-Pacific is Washington's "priority theater" with more than 300,000 American service members in the region working with allies and partners to ensure the rules-based international order is maintained.
The Indo-Pacific is at the heart of this interconnected world and events halfway around the world resonate throughout the region, Austin said while pointing to the unprovoked invasion of Ukraine by Russia as one of those events.
The defence secretary said that Russian President Vladimir Putin's "reckless war of choice has reminded us all of the dangers of undercutting an international order rooted in rules and respect."
Meanwhile, the US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin has met with Chinese counterpart Wei Fenghe to discuss US-China defence relations on the fringes of the Shangri-La Dialogue.
The two had discussed global and regional security issues and the bilateral defence relationship between the United States and China. They spent most of the meeting discussing Taiwan.
On the global and regional security issues, the two discussed North Korea and the challenges in Northeast Asia. They also discussed the Russian invasion of Ukraine.