In this June 1, 2019 photo, acting US Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan speaks at the IISS Shangri-La Dialogue summit in Singapore. (ROSLAN RAHMAN / AFP)
SINGAPORE – China firmly objected to the US side's remarks on Taiwan and the South China Sea while welcoming the US statement of continuing to develop and stabilize the bilateral military relationship, a senior Chinese military official said Saturday.
US acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan has made some "false remarks" on the issues related to Taiwan and the South China Sea in his keynote speech at the ongoing 18th Shangri-La Dialogue, and "we resolutely reject that," said Lieutenant General Shao Yuanming, deputy chief of the Joint Staff Department of China's Central Military Commission.
We deploy necessary defense facilities according to the security situation faced by the islands and reefs of the South China Sea. This is the absolute right of a sovereign country, and the necessary response to provocative actions.
Lt Gen Shao Yuanming, Central Military Commission, China
Taiwan has been an inseparable part of China since ancient times. The one-China principle constitutes the political foundation of Sino-US relations, and is also a universal consensus of the international community, Shao said.
However, the US side once again said at the Shangri-La Dialogue that it will offer necessary support to Taiwan according to the so-called "Taiwan Relations Act."
"The series of negative acts and comments recently made by the US side on Taiwan-related issues violated the one-China principle and the three joint communiques between the two countries, jeopardized China's sovereignty and security, and damaged regional peace and stability," Shao said.
He reiterated that China must and will certainly realize unification. If someone desires to separate Taiwan from China, the Chinese military will steadfastly safeguard the unity of the motherland at all costs.
Commenting on Shanahan's remarks of accusing China of sabotaging freedom of navigation and pushing forward the militarization of islands and reefs in the South China Sea, Shao said that China has indisputable sovereignty over the islands and reefs and their neighboring waters in the South China Sea, based on sufficient historical and legal facts.
For a long time, the normal navigation and overflight activities in the South China Sea region by various countries have always been smooth and uninterrupted. "The freedom of navigation and overflight has never been an issue," he said.
The US has been dispatching warships and aircraft to the nearby airspace and waters of the South China Sea islands and reefs, and implementing frequent close-up reconnaissance and targeted military drills. These acts are harmful to regional peace and stability, Shao said.
"We deploy necessary defense facilities according to the security situation faced by the islands and reefs of the South China Sea. This is the absolute right of a sovereign country, and the necessary response to provocative actions," he said.
Shao said under the joint efforts of China and other countries along the South China Sea, mutual trust among regional countries has been notably strengthened, and the overall situation of the South China Sea is stable and improving.
"Countries in the region have absolute willingness, wisdom and capability to contain differences, jointly promote peace, and build the South China Sea into a sea of peace, friendship and cooperation," the senior Chinese official said.
As regards Shanahan's remarks on the US wish to develop a stable relationship between the US and Chinese militaries, Shao said China welcomed that.
Chinese State Councilor and Defense Minister Wei Fenghe, who leads the Chinese delegation at the dialogue, held "positive and constructive" talks with Shanahan here on Friday, with both sides agreeing that a stable Sino-US military relationship is very important, Shao said.
"The two militaries will firmly implement the consensus reached by the two heads of states, deepen exchanges and cooperation between the two militaries, contain divergence and risks, so as to make the bilateral military relationship a stabilizer of bilateral ties," he added.
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