Taiwan separatists will be ‘crushed to pieces’, warns China

Admiral Dong Jun said 'whoever dares to split Taiwan from China will suffer his own destruction'
Admiral Dong Jun said 'whoever dares to split Taiwan from China will suffer his own destruction' - EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Taiwan separatists will be “crushed to pieces”, China warned at a defence summit on Sunday.

Admiral Dong Jun, used a significant portion of his speech at the Shangri La Dialogue in Singapore to lash out at the incoming administration of Lai Ching-te, the newly elected Taiwanese president, whom Beijing regards as a “dangerous separatist”.

China regards the self-ruling democracy of Taiwan as a breakaway province that must reunify with the mainland.

Adml Dong said that his military was ready to “forcefully” stop attempts by Taiwan from gaining independence.

His comments come a week after China held military “punishment” drills around Taiwan, warning of the risk of conflict after Mr Lai’s inauguration.

The president’s Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) was pursuing separatism in an incremental way and erasing Taiwan’s Chinese identity, alleged Adml Dong.

“They [‘separatists’] will be nailed to the pillar of shame in history,” he told a crowded room of Asia-Pacific, European and US defence and intelligence officials.

“The Chinese People’s Liberation Army has always been an indestructible and powerful force in defence of the unification of the motherland, and it will act resolutely and forcefully at all times to curb the independence of Taiwan and to ensure that it never succeeds in its attempts,” he said.

“Whoever dares to split Taiwan from China will be crushed to pieces and suffer his own destruction.”

After being sworn into office, Mr Lai invited China to engage in dialogue with Taiwan and urged Beijing to “jointly shoulder the important responsibility of regional stability”.

But the Chinese Communist Party, which claims Taiwan as its own territory despite never ruling there, has snubbed his attempts to talk.

The three-day security forum in Singapore has been dominated by the strategic rivalry between the United States and China and its impact on the Indo-Pacific region.

Adml Dong, who met with Lloyd Austin, the US defence secretary, for the first time face-to-face on Friday, said that more dialogue was necessary because of the differences between the two militaries.

“We have always been open to exchanges and co-operation, but this requires both sides to meet each other halfway,” he said.

But he also criticised Washington for its support for the Philippines, which has a number of territorial disputes with Beijing in the South China Sea, and for Taiwan, which receives much of its weaponry from the United States.

“We will not allow anyone to bring geopolitical conflicts or any war, whether hot or cold, into our region,” he said.

“We will not allow any country or any force to create conflict and chaos in our region.”