China says military will act 'at any cost' to prevent Taiwan split

China says military will act 'at any cost' to prevent Taiwan split

"It is extremely risky to repeatedly challenge China's limits on this issue", Defence Minister General Wei Fenghe said at the Xiangshan Forum, a regional security dialogue hosted by Beijing.

The official added that military ties between China and the USA are both sensitive and important.

China has been infuriated by recent U.S. sanctions on its military, one of a growing number of flashpoints in Sino-U.S. ties that include a bitter trade war, the issue of Taiwan, and China's increasingly muscular military posture in the South China Sea.

"The islands in the South China Sea have always been China's territory".

China has long avowed to challenge any attempts by Taiwan to formally declare independence, with the nation's rhetoric becoming much more forthright and aggressive since the Xi administration took power and gained more influence internationally. "They're the legacy of our ancestors and we can't afford to lose a single inch of them", said Wei.

Mattis told his Chinese counterpart last week that the world's two largest economies needed to deepen high-level ties so as to navigate tension and rein in the risk of inadvertent conflict.

A former USA military commander warned on Wednesday it's likely the United States will be at war with China in 15 years.

In recent months, the USA has signalled a broader push back against China's growing military reach in the region, with President Donald Trump vowing to outspend it in an arms race after his decision to withdraw from an anti-missile treaty with Russian Federation.

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Then on Monday US warships conducted "freedom of navigation" exercises in the Taiwan Strait, a 180-kilometre (110-mile) wide stretch of water separating the Chinese mainland and Taiwan - the second such manoeuvre in three months.

"The South China Sea situation is stabilising, which proves that all countries can take care of their own affairs", Wei said.

The two countries would meet in the southwestern Chinese city of Chengdu next month to discuss the arrangements, he added, without giving other details.

China has been angered too by US sanctions on its military for buying weapons from Russian Federation.

Beijing, which has never renounced the use of force to bring Taiwan under its control, has also viewed United States overtures towards the island with alarm.

China's defence minister warned that any effort to challenge its authority over Taiwan was "extremely unsafe", following recent USA moves that signalled greater support for the self-ruled island. It is a matter of our core interests.

Reuters quoted Wei talking about Taiwan: "On this issue, it is extremely risky to repeatedly challenge China's bottom line".

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