A senior Chinese military officer says that the US is to blame for rising tensions in the Pacific, and that the US’s Indo-Pacific strategy will only make things worse and is “doomed to fail.”
Lt. Gen. Zhang Zhenzhong’s scathing remarks came only hours after US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin denounced China’s “provocative and destabilizing military activity near Taiwan” during the high-level Shari-La Dialogue in Singapore. Mr. Austin, who is known for being quiet, was very critical of China’s rapidly growing military presence in the Pacific, especially its recent flyovers of Taiwan by military planes.
Mr. Austin claims that these and other Chinese measures have heightened tensions in the region. He said that the US would keep helping Taiwan’s military to keep “peace and stability” in the Pacific.
However, Gen. Zhang defended his military’s position in the Pacific, claiming that the US is entering dangerous areas by constantly using the “Taiwan card.”
“The Taiwan issue is the one that has the most potential to bring China and the United States into confrontation.” The way the Taiwan issue is handled will have a negative influence on bilateral relations. Gen. Zhang, deputy chief of China’s Central Military Commission’s joint staff department, said, “The People’s Liberation Army is always ready to fiercely protect national sovereignty, security, and territorial integrity at any cost.”
“The United States’ Indo-Pacific strategy runs against historical tendencies and the wishes of regional governments.” According to China Daily, Gen. Zhang stated, “It only serves the United States’ own interests and is therefore bound to fail.”
“The United States is the main cause of instability in the international order, a backstage manipulator of global chaos, and a major threat to peace and stability in the region,” he said.
His words were similar to those of China’s Defense Minister, Gen. Wei Fenghe, who said that the US approach was an attempt to encircle China.
“Under the pretext of multilateralism, no country should push its will on others or coerce others,” he stated. “In the name of a free and open Indo-Pacific, the strategy is an attempt to create a small, exclusive group that will take over countries in our region and target one country in particular. It is a plan to start wars and fights to limit and encircle others.”
Last year, US authorities accused China of testing a hypersonic missile, a weapon that is more difficult to resist with missile defense systems, but China said it was just a “regular spacecraft test.”
Mr. Wei came the closest to admitting it was a hypersonic missile in response to a question about the test on Sunday, stating, “As for hypersonic weapons, many countries are developing weapons, and I think it’s no surprise that China is doing so.”
He went on to say, “China will develop its military.” “I believe it is normal.”
He stated that China’s “highest aim” was “peaceful reunification” with Taiwan, but added that Beijing was willing to go to whatever length to achieve its objectives.
“China will undoubtedly achieve reunification,” he predicted. “The Chinese nation’s reunification is a tremendous cause, and it is a historical trend that no one or force can halt.”
According to US authorities, Mr. Wei and Mr. Austin met one-on-one on Saturday, and Taiwan was a major topic of discussion.