Singapore, 5 June, 2023 (GNP): China’s Defense Minister, General Li Shangfu, defended China’s recent actions in the Taiwan Strait and condemned ‘so-called freedom of Navigation’ as provocations. The speech was delivered at the prestigious Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore in which China rebukes western nations for operating warships and aircraft near China’s territorial waters.
The backdrop of General Li’s speech was the recent interception of a US-guided missile destroyer and a Canadian frigate by a Chinese warship in the Taiwan Strait. The Chinese vessel undertook an “unsafe maneuver” by deviating across the American ship’s bow at proximity. Such incidents have historically become the cause of tension between the two nations.
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The Chinese Minister of National Defense highlighted that foreign vessels and fighter jets frequently enter areas near China’s territory, claiming their presence as an act of provocation.
He also accused the United States and its allies of creating such danger and rebuked them by telling to “mind their own business”. Additionally, he expressed Beijing’s commitment to defend its legitimate rights and interests. He emphasized that China will not hesitate to protect its core interests including the claims over Taiwan territory.
Following his speech, General Li reiterated China’s stance, stating, “For China, we always say mind your own business, take good care of your vessels, your fighter jets, take good care of your territorial airspace and waters, if that is the case, then I don’t think there will be future problems.”
General Li criticized the external interference in China’s internal affairs, particularly citing the provision of defense support to Taiwan.