The Ministry of National Defense spokesman Wu Qian. [Photo/mod.gov.cn]
Defense Ministry vows to uphold peace as Washington ramps up provocations
The Chinese military opposes the United States ramping up its pressure and provocations against China, and promises to take "every measure necessary" to safeguard national sovereignty, security and development interests as bilateral relations face an "unusually severe and complicated situation", the Ministry of National Defense said on Thursday.
When asked at a news briefing about increased US military activity around China, Senior Colonel Wu Qian, the ministry's spokesman, said that some US politicians are sabotaging China-US relations for selfish reasons and even deliberately want to create an accident or military conflict.
By doing so, Wu said, the US is disregarding the safety of front-line servicemen, the interests of people from both countries, and aspirations for peace around the world. "It will not win over any hearts," he added.
"The Chinese military will adamantly safeguard national sovereignty, security and development interests, and resolutely maintain peace and stability in the region and the world," he said.
"We hope some US politicians can see the truth, be levelheaded and stop these provocations, so that China-US military relations and bilateral ties can return to their correct course."
China-US relations are facing an "unusually severe and complicated situation", Wu said. For some time, the US has kept stirring up trouble and provocations, which has seriously undermined China's sovereignty and security, as well as military-to-military relations and bilateral ties.
"China's military will not dance to the US' tune, but also we will not bow to its reckless behavior," the spokesman said.
While commenting on remarks by US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper about his possible visit to China later this year, Wu said the defense departments from both countries are still in contact and coordinating the event.
"We hope the US side can take concrete actions, and create a positive atmosphere for the visit," Wu said.
Wu stressed that it is currently very important for the two militaries to maintain communication. Both sides should enhance dialogue and prevent risks, and work together to maintain stable relations.
"We hope the US can genuinely expand its strategic vision, view China's development with rationality and an open mind, and pull itself out of the swamp of anxiety and paranoia."
In response to the US contemplating the deployment of intermediate-range ballistic missiles in Asia, most likely in Japan, Wu said that China has repeatedly voiced its opposition on this subject.
"If the relevant parties still insist on having their own way, then China will take measures in retaliation," he said.
Regarding US interaction with Taiwan, Wu said the island is an inseparable part of China, and the Chinese military opposes any form of secession efforts, as well as the US having formal or military dealings with Taiwan.
This month, the US made a $62 billion 10-year arms deal with Taiwan, which included selling the island 66 F-16V fighter jets."US arms deals with Taiwan have always been a major undermining factor in China-US relations and regional stability," Wu said.
Referring to the People's Liberation Army Eastern Theater Command's recently conducted real combat drills in the Taiwan Straits, Wu said, "The objective is to target foreign interference, as well as a small group of Taiwan separatists and their actions."
If the US continues with the arms deal, China will take "every measure necessary" to retaliate. "We will adamantly protect national sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as peace and stability in the Taiwan Straits."
According to local maritime safety administrations, China is holding naval drills in all four of its major adjacent waters-the Bohai Sea, Yellow Sea, East China Sea and South China Sea. Since late July, the Chinese military has conducted 22 drills in these waters.
Wu said China also recently held military drills in the waters and airspace around the Nansha and Xisha islands in the South China Sea, as well as in waters off Qingdao, Shandong province, and Lyushun, Liaoning province.
"These exercises are in this year's training plan and do not target any country," he said.
The South China Sea Strategic Situation Probing Initiative, a Chinese nonprofit research institution, said a US RC-135S intelligence aircraft entered the area of the South China Sea on Wednesday morning via the southeastern waters of Hainan province, where the Chinese military is holding a drill nearby.
On Tuesday, a Lockheed U-2 high altitude reconnaissance aircraft trespassed into the no-fly zone of a live fire drill by the PLA Northern Theater Command.
Li Haidong, a professor of US studies at China Foreign Affairs University, said the US military will likely continue its provocative intelligence gathering missions against China's naval exercises, so China will need to draft proper response protocols and mitigate risks.
"The China hawks in the US government are baiting China to fire the first shot and cause an accident, so that the Trump administration could distract the public from its failures," he said.
"We cannot play into their hands, and we must respond to their provocations with calm and prudence," he said."Meanwhile, we must seek dialogue with the US when the opportunity arises. Conversation is still better than confrontation. Only through high-level exchanges can we reduce our misunderstandings."