China slams top US military personnel for ‘irresponsible’ remarks

China strongly opposes “irresponsible” remarks recently made by U.S. military personnel, a military spokesperson said on Friday. 

US-Taiwan relations

Tan Kefei, spokesperson for the Ministry of National Defense, stressed that the U.S. should do more that is conducive to the development of relations between the two countries and militaries, in response to a speech by the commander of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, Admiral John Aquilino, at the Aspen Security Forum. 

The admiral said that the United States is capable of “defending Taiwan” in a military conflict and described the Indo-Pacific as Washington’s “biggest security challenge,” adding that he is confident that the U.S. military is “in a good place.”

Aquilino’s remarks relating to China’s Taiwan, Hong Kong, Xinjiang and the South China Sea were “irresponsible,” Tan said, adding that U.S. officials’ “wanton interference” in other countries’ internal affairs “flouted and trampled on international law and basic norms governing international relations.” 

Noting that relations between the two countries and their militaries are at a critical juncture, the spokesperson stressed the importance of “developing sound and stable military-to-military relations” which serve the common interests of both sides and are also the common expectation of the international community. 

“China has principles in developing military-to-military relations with the United States. We urge the U.S. side to earnestly respect China’s core interests and major concerns and abide by the one-China principle and the three China-U.S. joint communiques,” Tan said. 

The spokesperson also described the U.S. as the “troublemaker” in the South China Sea and the biggest threat to regional peace and stability.

“After World War Two, the U.S. military continued to wage frequent wars and military operations around the world. Since 2001, wars in Iraq, Libya, Syria and elsewhere have killed over 800,000 people and displaced tens of millions,” Tan said. 

In stark contrast, he continued, the Chinese military has taken part in international peacekeeping operations, maritime escort operations, humanitarian assistance and disaster reduction operations, actively promoted the reform of the global security governance system, firmly upheld fairness and justice, and promoted peaceful development.