In a first white paper issued since 2012, the Chinese Defense Ministry warned on Wednesday that “international strategic competition is on the rise” as a result of provocation by America.
Washington, it said, has adopted “unilateral policies” and has “provoked and intensified competition among major countries, significantly increased its defense expenditure, pushed for additional capacity in nuclear, outer space, cyber and missile defense, and undermined global strategic stability.”
The paper also took aim at US plans to provide Taiwan with billions of dollars in weapons, saying Beijing had made no promise not to use force across the Taiwan Strait if necessary.
“China must be and will be reunited,” the paper said. “China has the firm resolve and the ability to safeguard national sovereignty… and will never allow the secession of any part of its territory by anyone.”
China has constantly warned the US over its relations with Taiwan. Beijing has sovereignty over the island and almost all world countries recognize that sovereignty under a policy known as One China.
The US, too, recognizes Chinese sovereignty over Taiwan, but it has long courted Taipei in an attempt to counter Beijing.
Since President Donald Trump took office in January 2017, his administration has opened a new de facto embassy in Taipei and passed a law to encourage senior US officials to travel to Taiwan to meet their Taiwanese counterparts.
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The Chinese white paper further said Taiwanese “separatists” are the biggest threat to the peaceful reunification of the self-ruled island and mainland China.
It also warned that the Chinese military “will resolutely defeat anyone attempting to separate Taiwan from China.”
‘Attempts at Taiwan secession will lead to war’
Later in the day, Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman Wu Qian warned that any move toward Taiwan’s independence could lead to war.
Wu said in a news conference on Tuesday that “seeking Taiwan independence is a dead end.”
“If there are people who dare to try to split Taiwan from the country, China’s military will be ready to go to war to firmly safeguard national sovereignty, unity, and territorial integrity,” Wu said.
‘China lags behind best militaries’
The Chinese ministry outlined plans to build a modern, high-tech army, which is reportedly focused on catching up with technology used by armed forces in the United States and Western Europe.
The plan calls for more cutting-edge technology in the military’s arsenal, admitting it “still lags far behind the world’s leading militaries.”
War is evolving toward “intelligent warfare,” said the document, citing a growing use of Artificial Intelligence (AI), big data, cloud computing and “new and high-tech military technologies based on IT.”
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China, which has the world’s largest military force, said earlier this year that it planned to increase its defense spending by 7.5 percent in 2019. Its military has the second-largest defense budget in the world.
‘A force for peace’
“A strong military of China is a staunch force for world peace, stability and the building of a community with a shared future for mankind,” the white paper said.
It also admitted that “China pursues a nuclear strategy of self-defense” but “does not engage in any nuclear arms race with any other country and keeps its nuclear capabilities at the minimum level required for national security.”
The US is concerned by China’s growing military power.
Speaking at the annual Aspen Security Forum in Colorado, US Undersecretary of Defense for Policy John Rood said earlier that China was “the one country, the largest country, with the ability to change our way of life in the United States, and change the global order, for good or ill.”