Beijing: 'China will definitely not hesitate to start a war' over Taiwan

President Joe Biden, in late May, said the U.S. military would intervene in any Chinese effort to take the island

Updated: June 10, 2022 - 6:20pm

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Chinese Communist Party officials on Friday escalated their rhetoric on conquering Taiwan, vowing armed conflict with any nation that interferes in its territorial dispute with the island.

“If anyone dares to split Taiwan from China, the Chinese army will definitely not hesitate to start a war no matter the cost,” Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe said, as quoted by defense spokesman Wu Qian and reported by the Epoch Times.

Wei's statement came during a tense meeting between him and U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin amid the Shangri La Dialogue defense summit in Singapore.

Both the Taipei-based Republic of China and Beijing-centered People's Republic of China adhere to the "One China Principle," recognizing the existence of a single Chinese polity, though they dispute which government legitimately holds that position.

The Republic of China has not formally declared independence from the mainland and Beijing regards the island as being under separatist occupation. Taiwan became part of the Republic of China in 1945 and never been directly administered by the communist regime in Beijing.

A Pentagon statement asserted that the U.S. continued to support the diplomatic status quo between China and Taiwan, but stood opposed any Chinese effort to forcibly occupy the island. "The Secretary reiterated to General Wei that the United States remains committed to our longstanding one China policy, which is guided by the Taiwan Relations Act, the Three U.S.-China Joint Communiques, and the Six Assurances," the statement read. "The Secretary reaffirmed the importance of peace and stability across the Strait, opposition to unilateral changes to the status quo, and called on the PRC to refrain from further destabilizing actions toward Taiwan."

China has been pressuring the Taiwanese government with air space penetrations and bellicose rhetoric for years, but has dramatically escalated both amid the Russian Invasion of Ukraine, which some observe argue Beijing considers a litmus test for its own military operation against Taiwan.

President Joe Biden, in late May, said the U.S. military would intervene in any Chinese effort to take the island.