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News ID: 103604
Publish Date : 12 June 2022 - 21:54
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SINGAPORE (Dispatches) -- The war in Ukraine and China’s increasingly tense relationship with the United States featured in nearly every session of the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, which ended on Sunday after three days of discussions.
Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe, who gave one of the featured speeches on the meeting’s final day, said it was up to the United States to improve the bilateral relationship with his country, as ties were at a critical juncture.
“We request the U.S. side to stop smearing and containing China. Stop interfering in China’s internal affairs. The bilateral relationship cannot improve unless the U.S. side can do that,” Wei, dressed in the uniform of a general in the People’s Liberation Army, told delegates.
The Shangri-La Dialogue is Asia’s premier security meeting and this year attracted 575 delegates from 40 countries - including diplomats, defense officials and weapons makers.
Austin said in his speech at the meeting on Saturday that there had been an “alarming” increase in the number of unsafe and unprofessional encounters between Chinese planes and vessels with those of other countries. He added that the United States would stand by its allies, including Taiwan.
U.S.-China relations usually dominate the annual meeting in Singapore - held for the first time since 2019 because of the pandemic - but this year, Russia’s operation of Ukraine was in the foreground.
Wei said that China supported peace talks and that Beijing had not provided any materiel to Russia. He said providing weapons and imposing sanctions would not help the situation.
Meia Nouwens, a Senior Fellow at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, said Wei’s speech was consistent with Beijing’s official line on Russia-Ukraine issues.
“He did also underline that China is a partner of Russia and not an ally of Russia and that they do not have an alliance,” Nouwens said. “They’re underlining that at the end of the day, Chinese policy has always been to pursue China’s own interests and not tie itself to those other countries.”
Russia was not invited to the meeting, which Singapore Defense Minister Ng Eng Hen said was understandable, although he said “the search for compromise, the search for common ground, helps diplomatic efforts”.
Addressing the issue of Taiwan, Defense Minister Wei said China’s position on the island, which Beijing views as a province, was unchanged. He said the Chinese government sought “peaceful reunification” with Taiwan but reserved “other options”.
Wei also said China has made “impressive progress” in developing new nuclear weapons, but will only use them for self-defense, and never use them first.
In response to a question about reports last year on construction of more than 100 new nuclear missile silos in China’s east, he said China “has always pursued an appropriate path to developing nuclear capabilities for protection of our country.”

 
He added nuclear weapons displayed in a 2019 military parade in Beijing — which included upgraded launchers for China’s DF-41 intercontinental ballistic missiles - were operational and deployed.
“China has developed its capabilities for over five decades. It’s fair to say there has been impressive progress,” he said. “China’s ... policy is consistent. We use it for self defense. We will not be the first to use nuclear (weapons).”
He said the ultimate goal of China’s nuclear arsenal was to prevent nuclear war.
“We developed nuclear capabilities to protect the hard work of the Chinese people and protect our people from the scourge of the nuclear warfare,” he said.
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