Premier Su Tseng-chang, center, speaks to reporters during a visit to Pingtung County yesterday.
OPEN DOOR: Taiwan is willing to engage with China in the spirit of goodwill, but on an equal basis and without political preconditions, Premier Su Tseng-chang said
By Chen Yu-fu and Liu Tzu-hsuan / Staff reporters, with staff writer and agencies
The Mainland Affairs Council （MAC） yesterday denounced China for publicly threatening Taiwan at an international event, saying that it was tantamount to a declaration of war and flouted peaceful international relations.
The council made the remarks after Chinese Minister of National Defense General Wei Fenghe （魏鳳和） earlier in the day said that China would “fight to the very end” to stop Taiwanese independence.
In a fiery address to the Shangri-La Dialogue security summit in Singapore yesterday, Wei said that Beijing would have “no choice” but to fight if attempts are made to “separate” Taiwan from China.
“We will fight at all cost, and we will fight to the very end,” he told the summit, which brings together defense ministers from Asia and elsewhere.
“No one should ever underestimate the resolve and ability of the Chinese armed forces to safeguard its territorial integrity,” he said.
“Those who pursue Taiwanese independence in an attempt to split China will definitely come to no good end,” he added.
The MAC said in a statement that Wei’s remarks “proved that Beijing is the source of the regional disturbance.”
The council said it is “a fact” that the two sides of the Taiwan Strait do not belong to each other, and that Taiwan has never been a part of China.
China has been ignoring Taiwan and other countries’ opposition to its aggressive actions and false claims, and trying to unify with Taiwan by force, the MAC said, adding that China would suffer the consequences of meddling with Taiwan’s international support.
Separately yesterday, Premier Su Tseng-chang （蘇貞昌） said that Taiwan does not want to close the door on relations with China and is willing to engage in the spirit of goodwill, but on an equal basis and without political preconditions.
Speaking to reporters after China on Friday announced a ban on imports of Taiwanese grouper fish on safety grounds, a move Taipei called politically motivated, Su said Taiwan has always shown goodwill toward China.
“As long as there is equality, reciprocity and no political preconditions, we are willing to engage in goodwill with China,” he said, reiterating a position that President Tsai Ing-wen （蔡英文） has repeatedly made in public.
“As for China’s harassment of Taiwan with military aircraft, warships, unreasonable suppression and political actions, the one being most unreasonable is China,” Su added. “Taiwan does not want to close the door to China. It is China that has used various means to oppress and treat Taiwan unreasonably.”
Beijing has refused to speak to Tsai since she was elected in 2016, viewing her as a separatist who has refused to accept that China and Taiwan are part of “one China.”
Tsai says only Taiwan’s people can decide their future, and while they want peace with China, they would defend themselves if attacked.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu （吳釗燮） yesterday wrote on Twitter: “#Beijing banned #Taiwan #FreedomPineapple imports, now it’s targeting our groupers. That’s what the communists do: They buy & pirate tech before weaponizing. Free & fair trade with #China is a fail. We’re just putting more ammunition in their stockpile.”
A Chinese delegate takes a photograph during Chinese Minister of National Defense General Wei Fenghe’s speech at the Shangri-la Dialogue in Singapore yesterday.