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China doesn’t seek to surpass the U.S. as the globe’s dominant power but is prepared to “fight to the end” if needed, Defense Minister Wei Fenghe said, as trade friction grows between the world’s biggest economies.
“China has no intention, no power, to be the boss of this world, and against the United States to fight for this status,” Wei said on Sunday at the Shangri-La Dialogue, a major regional security conference. “Confrontation, including between China and the United States, is inconsistent with the interests of the two countries’ peoples and is not in the interest of the people of the world.”
Wei added at the event in Singapore that China still wants to resolve escalating tensions through dialogue, but it won’t be bullied.
“If the U.S. wants to talk, we will keep the door open,” Wei said. “If they want to fight, we will fight to the end.”
A day earlier, Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan told the same gathering that the U.S. and China would eventually resolve their differences, downplaying the significance of escalating trade tensions even as he ripped Beijing’s leaders for behavior that “sows distrust” in Asia.
The trade conflict between the U.S. and China took a dramatic turn for the worse in May when President Donald Trump hiked tariffs after accusing Beijing of reneging on commitments in negotiations.
Here are some key comments from Wei’s speech and Q&A session:
“Huawei is a private company. China is opposed to the attempt of other countries to impose sanctions on private companies. Huawei is not a military company.”
“The policy in China’s Xinjiang is absolutely right because over the past more than two years, there is no single terrorist attack in Xinjiang and the living standards of the local people have improved.”
On South China Sea:
“First, who on earth is threatening security and stability in the South China Sea? Over 100,000 ships sail through the South China Sea each year. None has been threatened. The problem, however, is that in recent years some countries outside the region come to the South China Sea to flex muscles, in the name of freedom of navigation.”
“If anyone dares to split Taiwan from China, the Chinese military has no choice but to fight at all costs for national unity. No attempt to split China will succeed.”
“This is a political storm and a political unrest. The central government took decisive measures, and the military took measures to stop it and calm the turmoil. This is the right way. It is the reason of the stability of the country has been maintained.”
To contact the reporters on this story: Alfred Cang in Singapore at firstname.lastname@example.org;Krystal Chia in Singapore at email@example.com
To contact the editors responsible for this story: Daniel Ten Kate at firstname.lastname@example.org, Jon Herskovitz
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