Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe met with US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper on Monday in Bangkok, both agreeing military relations are a crucial part of China-US ties, and that the two militaries should contribute to pushing for cooperation and stability together.
Wei told Esper that China always sticks to peacefully resolving the Taiwan question, but will not tolerate a major “Taiwan secession” event, and that the US should handle the issue with care and should not destabilize the situation in the Taiwan Straits.
Wei also reiterated China’s firm determination to safeguard territorial sovereignty, including marine rights and interests in Hong Kong and the South China Sea, and asked the US side to stop flaunting force and escalating the situation.
The meeting between Wei and Esper shows maintaining good military ties has a very positive impact on the overall relations between the two countries, and the two countries still have much more room for military cooperation, analysts said.
Global Times learned from the Chinese National Defense spokesperson Wu Qian, via an official statement on Monday, that the meeting between the two defense ministers was “positive and constructive,” as they exchanged views on the relations between the militaries, including international and regional hot-spot issues of common interests.
The two sides agreed that the military relations are an integral part of the China-US relations, the healthy development and stability of which is to the advancement not only for the two countries’ defense but also for the international and regional peace and stability.
Defense departments and militaries from both sides should implement the agreements reached by Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Donald Trump, to keep a regular communication, deepen pragmatic cooperation and manage and control disagreements properly, so as to make the relations between the two militaries a “stabilizer” for the China-US relationship, according to Wu.
Wu said that Wei and Esper both expressed positive attitude toward the coming exchange activities between the two militaries, stressing that both sides should plan the major exchange subjects well for the next year.
For the next step, the two militaries will continue communication about related arrangements, Wu said.
Wei and Esper’s meeting is significant in strengthening mutual trust pertaining to the military. Meanwhile, through the meeting, China expressed its firm stances and warned the US to refrain from giving any wrong signal to Taiwan and Hong Kong secessionists, in order to prevent the two militaries from being affected, Song Zhongping, a military expert and TV commentator, told the Global Times.
The US has stepped up provocations on China’s core interests in the Taiwan Straits, the South China Sea and Hong Kong affairs, which sent wrong signals to those secessionists and severely undermined China’s stability, sovereignty and territorial integrity, Song said.
China sent a stern warning to the US through the meeting between Wei and Esper that the US should not misjudge the situations to support secessionists and challenge China’s core interests.