Beijing will start a war without hesitation regardless of the consequences if Taiwan were to declare its independence, China's defence minister warned his US counterpart on Friday, 10 June, according to ministry officials.
"If anyone dares to split Taiwan from China, the Chinese army will definitely not hesitate to start a war no matter the cost," China's defence ministry spokesperson Wu Qian quoted minister Wei Fenghe as saying during his meeting with the US defence secretary Lloyd Austin.
The Chinese minister vowed that Beijing would topple any "Taiwan independence" plot and not let the "unification of the motherland" falter, the Chinese defence ministry said.
"Taiwan is China's Taiwan... Using Taiwan to contain China will never prevail," the ministry quoted Wei Fenghe as saying.
Meanwhile, Austin told his Chinese counterpart during their talks in Singapore that Beijing must "refrain from further destabilising actions toward Taiwan," the US Department of Defense said.
US President Joe Biden said in Japan last month that Washington would defend Taiwan militarily if China attacked it. The White House, however, insisted that its policy of "strategic ambiguity" over intervention would not change.
Besides Taiwan, China and the United States have been at loggerheads with each other over Russia's invasion of Ukraine, with Washington accusing Beijing of providing implicit support to Russia.