The US is responsible for rising tensions in the Pacific, and America’s Indo-Pacific strategy will only further divide the region and is ultimately “doomed to failure,” a senior Chinese military official said Sunday.
Chinese Lieutenant General Zhang Zhenzhong’s sharp remarks came just hours after US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin spoke at the high-level Shari-La Dialogue in Singapore and highlighted China’s “provocative and destabilizing military activity near Taiwan.” criticized. The normally reserved Mr. Austin issued a sharp rebuke of China’s burgeoning military presence in the Pacific, particularly the recent overflights of military aircraft near Taiwan.
Those Chinese actions and others, Mr Austin said, have fueled tensions in the region. He promised that the US would help maintain “peace and stability” in the Pacific and continue to provide assistance to Taiwan’s armed forces.
But General Zhang defended his army’s stance in the Pacific, saying that the US is invading dangerous territory by playing the “Taiwan card” at every opportunity.
“The Taiwan issue is the only question that can most easily lead China-US relations into conflict. Mishandling the Taiwan issue will have a destructive impact on bilateral relations. The People’s Liberation Army is always ready to resolutely protect national sovereignty, security and territorial integrity at any cost,” said General Zhang, deputy chief of the Joint Staff Department of China’s Central Military Commission.
“The US Indo-Pacific strategy is a strategy that goes against historical trends and the prevailing will of regional countries. It only serves the US’s own interests and is therefore doomed to failure,” General Zhang said, according to the media outlet China Daily.
“The United States is the greatest source of instability in the international order, the backstage manipulator of global unrest and a dangerous threat to regional peace and stability,” he said.
His comments echoed those of Defense Secretary General Wei Fenghe, who suggested that the US strategy was an attempt to corner China.
“No country should impose its will on others or bully others under the guise of multilateralism,” he said. “The strategy is an attempt to build an exclusive small group in the name of a free and open Indo-Pacific to hijack countries in our region and target one specific country – it is a strategy to avoid conflict and confrontation. to restrain and surround others. †
Last year, US officials accused China of testing a hypersonic missile, a weapon that is more difficult to combat by missile defense systems, but China insisted it had been a “routine test of a spacecraft.”
When answering a question about the test on Sunday, Mr Wei came the closest so far to acknowledging that it was indeed a hypersonic missile, saying: “As for hypersonic weapons, many countries are developing weapons and I think it is no surprise is that China do.”
“China will develop its military,” he added. “I think it’s natural.”
He said China’s “greatest wish” was a “peaceful reunification” with Taiwan, but also made it clear that Beijing was ready to do whatever it takes to achieve its goals.
“China will certainly realize its reunification,” he said. “China’s reunification is a great cause of the Chinese nation, and it is a historic trend that no one and no power can stop.”
Mr. Wei and Mr. Austin met one on one on Saturday, and US officials have said Taiwan has featured prominently in their discussions.
This article contains wire service reports.