‘Fight to the finish’: China’s new warning


China says it does not fear the United States and will “fight to the finish” in any potential confrontation.

China says it does not fear the United States and will “fight to the finish” in any potential confrontation.

But Foreign Minister Wang Yi said the nation welcomed “healthy” competition and dialogue based on “equality”, adding the current tensions between the superpowers were due to “strategic misjudgements” on the American side.

Mr Wang made the comments in a speech on Monday at conference in Beijing.

“If there is confrontation, then [China] will not fear it, and will fight to the finish,” he said, according to a Reuters report of the speech.

The wording of the official English translation posted on the Foreign Ministry website appears slightly toned down.

“Confrontation, which China does not fear, will be met in kind,” it reads.

“The two countries stand to gain from co-operation and lose from confrontation.

“This is the most important experience the two countries have learned through their half-century-long interactions, and will continue to be proved by what will happen in the time ahead.

“It is hoped that the US side will follow through on the common understandings of the two presidents, honour its commitment, earn trust from others, and work with China to explore a way of peaceful coexistence between the two major countries.”

In the speech, Mr Wang also made reference to Taiwan, vowing that the “reunification of China must be achieved and will definitely be achieved”.

“Taiwan is a long lost son who will eventually return home,” Mr Wang said. “It should not be used as a pawn to serve others’ agenda.”

Reuters’ translation of the remark read, “Taiwan is a wanderer who will eventually come home, not a chess piece to be used by others.”

In response to the comments, Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council said the island had never been a part of the People’s Republic of China.

“It is neither a wanderer nor a chess piece,” it said in a statement to Reuters.

“Only the 23 million people of Taiwan have the right to decide Taiwan’s future, and absolutely will not accept a path laid out by an autocratic political system.”

Democratic Taiwan represents part of the Republic of China that never surrendered to the Communist-led revolution in 1949.

The Chinese Communist Party views the island of 23 million people as a rogue province that will eventually be retaken, by force if necessary.

The United States has a policy of “strategic ambiguity” towards Taiwan, having no official relations with Taipei but selling the country weapons, while leaving open the possibility of coming to its defence.

President Joe Biden infuriated Beijing in October when he appeared to go off script, telling a CNN town hall event that the United States would come to Taiwan’s aid if China attacked.

The White House was forced to quickly walk back those remarks.

In their virtual summit last month, Chinese President Xi Jinping warned Mr Biden that disputing China’s control of Taiwan remained a red line.

“Such moves are extremely dangerous, just like playing with fire,” Mr Xi reportedly told his counterpart. “Whoever plays with fire will get burnt.”

Speaking on Monday, Mr Wang said China had issued “stern warnings and taken forceful countermeasures, deterring the separatist forces for ‘Taiwan independence’”.

He also rejected “lies and falsehoods” about the situation in Xinjiang, where China is alleged to be engaging in human rights abuses against the Uighur Muslim population.

Mr Wang said a “certain country” had been interfering in the internal affairs of other countries “in the name of democracy and human rights”, and had fabricated “false narratives of democracy versus authoritarianism”.

“We have upheld the common values of humanity, setting forth China’s success in practising whole-process people’s democracy, and highlighting public satisfaction as the ultimate criterion for measuring democracy,” he said.

Last week, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin made similar comments, declaring that the era of the United States acting “arbitrarily in the world” was over.

Responding to reports that no troops would be punished for a botched drone strike in Afghanistan earlier this year that killed 10 civilians, including seven children, Mr Wang warned the United States military would face “justice”.

“Justice may be delayed, but it will not be denied,” he said.

“The era in which the US acted arbitrarily in the world under the pretext of so-called ‘democracy’ and ‘human rights’ is over. The day of reckoning will eventually come for the US military who committed the crimes of killing innocent civilians in many countries.”

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