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China Issues Rebuke of US              10/21 06:11

   BEIJING (AP) -- China's defense minister lashed out at U.S. foreign policy 
Monday, saying China wasn't fazed by sanctions, pressure or a "big stick" 
approach, while reiterating threats to force the self-governing island 
democracy of Taiwan to accept rule from Beijing.

   Gen. Wei Fenghe did not refer directly to the U.S. in his opening remarks at 
the Xiangshan Forum, an annual gathering in Beijing patterned on other 
multilateral gatherings such as Singapore's Shangri-la Dialogue.

   But he repeated phrases Beijing often says about Washington and its Western 
allies as part of what China considers an ongoing campaign to restrain its 
development.

   "No one and no force will be able to stop the course" of China's annexation 
of Taiwan, Feng said in an opening address to the forum, whose catchphrase this 
year is "Maintaining International Order and Promoting Peace in the 
Asia-Pacific."

   China "will never allow the separatists for Taiwan independence to take 
their chances or any external forces to interfere into the Taiwan affairs. 
Reunification of the motherland is a justified course and separatist activities 
are doomed to failure," Wei said.

   Taiwan, a former Japanese colony, split from China amid civil war in 1949 
and enjoys strong U.S. military and diplomatic backing, despite the lack of 
formal ties.

   Referring to what China regards as unwarranted U.S. intervention in other 
countries' affairs, Wei said China wouldn't accept or be intimidated by 
Washington's actions.

   He included among those "long-arm jurisdiction," China's pejorative term for 
the leveling of U.S. sanctions on countries such as China, North Korea and Iran.

   Wei's comments Monday come amid sharpening tensions between China and the 
U.S. over a range of economic and security issues, from trade and technology 
transfer to Hong Kong and the South China Sea.

   U.S. officials have offered their own harsh assessments of China's drive to 
supplant America as Asia's pre-eminent military power.

   In testimony Wednesday before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, top 
U.S. diplomat David R. Stilwell said China's ruling Communist Party is pursuing 
a "repressive alternative vision" for the region that seeks to reorder it in 
its favor and has put Beijing "in a position of strategic competition with all 
who seek to preserve a free and open order of sovereign nations within a 
rules-based order."

   Stilwell, assistant secretary of the State Department's Bureau of East Asian 
and Pacific Affairs, said China's claim to virtually the entire South China Sea 
as exemplified by the "preposterous nine-dashed line" lacked "legal, historic, 
or geographic merit."

   Stilwell was especially scathing about China's claim to be pursuing a 
peaceful code of conduct with other parties while using its navy, coast guard 
and other actors to bully neighbors such as Vietnam and cement its claims in 
their area by building artificial island outposts.

   "We remain skeptical of the PRC's sincerity to negotiate a meaningful Code 
of Conduct that reinforces international law," Stilwell said. "If it is used by 
the PRC to legitimize its egregious behavior and unlawful maritime claims, and 
to evade the commitments Beijing signed up to under international law, a Code 
of Conduct would be harmful to the region, and to all who value freedom of the 
seas."


(KR)

 
 
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