- Nov 4, 2011
- Reaction score
China promises to greet 'jackals with shotguns' as superpower tension ramps upThomas Manch in Singapore15:10, Jun 04 2023
Chinese Defence Minister Li Shangfu says the US military risks confrontation by passing through the Taiwan Strait, as another near-miss between the two great powers adds to the mounting risk of conflict.
“It is undeniable that a severe conflict or confrontation between China and the US will be an unbearable disaster. China believes that a major country should behave like one,” Li said, in a speech on Sunday.
“Chinese military will not hesitate for a second, we will fear opponents and resolutely safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity regardless of any costs.”
Li spoke at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore on Sunday, directly rebuking US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin, who a day earlier urged China to resume high-level military talks while promising to bolster military planning with partners across the region to deter conflict.
Defence ministers and military leaders from more than 40 countries were gathered at the three-day defence summit to discuss growing great power competition in the Asia-Pacific. Countries including New Zealand and Australia have urged greater dialogue between the US and China to avert conflict.
“Who is disrupting peace in the region? What are the root causes of chaos and instability? And what should we stay vigilant and guard against?” Li said, according to a live translation of his remarks.
“We must make wise choices by standing on the right side of history.”
Li said the “record-low” relations between the US and China could be repaired if the US sincerely made “concrete actions”.
The potential for conflict through miscalculation was made apparent days before the summit, when a Chinese jet fighter crossed the path of a US surveillance plane in international airspace above the South China Sea.
As Austin spoke on Saturday, the US and Canadian navies were transiting through Taiwan Strait, between China and Taiwan, a democratically-governed island nation Beijing claims as its own territory.
Canada’s Global Times, on board a Canadian vessel, reported a Chinese warship came within 150 yards of hitting a US ship, USS Chung-Hoon, as it cut in front of its bow.
“Why did all those incidents happen in areas near China? Not in areas near other countries?” Li said.
"We always say, ‘Mind your own business’ ... If that is the case I don’t think there will be future problems.”
It was an “indisputable fact” that Taiwan was China’s territory, he said, but “some big power” was providing arms and training to the country to interfere in China’s internal affairs.
“We will never hesitate to defend our legitimate rights and interests.
“As the lyrics of a well known Chinese song goes, ‘When friends visit us, we welcome them with wine. When jackals of war visit us, we will face them with shotguns’.”
Li said China had proposed a “new path” for security, called the Global Security Initiative, and international rules should be complemented and refined to “make the international order fairer.”
Bonnie Glaser, director of the Asia programme at the German Marshall Fund in Washington DC, said China was pushing its own ideas for security as it did not want its interests challenged.
“It wants countries to show deference, but it also wants to be seen as this responsible country that sets the norms and provides some new framework and architecture for peace and stability.
“It doesn't like the Western vision of how security should be perceived.”
China was not just concerned about “containment” through military deterrence, she said, but about being prevented it from becoming a leader in strategic technologies crucial to its “national rejuvenation”.
“I think increasingly, the Chinese are even more worried about that, than they are about the military deterrence that's taking place. Because they have a degree of confidence in their own military capabilities. You know, we're trying to catch up.”
Glaser said Austin “tells a good story” about the US having military force more distributed across the region, but China’s development of military capabilities that can deny US access made it “very vulnerable”.
Defence Minister Li Shangfu says the US military should leave the seas surrounding China, as another near-miss adds to the mounting risk of conflict.