Senior Colonel Ren Guoqiang also launched a blistering attack on US Defense Secretary Mark Esper, whom he branded “full of arrogance”, during a press conference in Beijing yesterday, with his remarks being published on the website of the People’s Liberation Army. Asked about a US/Taiwan arms deal worth $493million (£620million) for the upgrade of surface-to-air Patriot missiles, Ren confirmed China was imposing sanctions on US defence contractor Lockheed Martin as a result.
He also criticised the US decision to send military personnel to Taiwan for exercises, which he said had a “severe negative impact on bilateral relations”.
Ren added: “These attempts to contain China with Taiwan interfere in China’s internal affairs and undermine peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.
“They are completely wrong and extremely dangerous.
“The US should realise that China must and will be reunified, and the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation must and will be achieved.
“These actions have sent extremely wrong messages to the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) authorities.
“These are the latest moves from the US that violate the one-China principle and the three China-US joint communique.
In a clear indication of China’s increasingly hardline stance on the issue, he added: “We have the firm will, full confidence and sufficient capability to thwart any form of external interference and separatist attempts for “Taiwan independence”.
“And we will resolutely defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity, and safeguard peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.
Ren also hit back against Mr Esper, who recently claimed China’s aggressive behaviour, specifically military drills held in May on Hainan Island in the South China Sea, in which the superpower simulated the seizure of Taiwan-held Pratas Island.
He added: “The remarks from the US side about China are groundless and unreasonable, full of arrogance, bias, attacks and smears.
“We are firmly opposed to these remarks.
“It is a well-known fact that the US always bends international rules as it sees fit and is aggressively pursuing “America first” and unilateral bullism.
“Unlike the US, who has withdrawn from many international organizations and treaties, China is taking solid actions to fulfil its international responsibilities and obligations and joined the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) on the same day the US announced its withdrawal from the World Health Organization (WHO).
“The US has held and bragged about some highly-targeted military exercises in the Indo-Pacific region, deployed game-changing weapons and equipment to the region, and even openly pursued an alliance against China.
“We urge the US to stop undermining world peace and regional stability, and stop sowing discord among countries.”