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  • By The Financial District

China Loses Its Marbles, Threatens To Start War Over False Claim To Taiwan

If Taiwan declares independence, Beijing will "not hesitate to start a war," China's defense minister warned his US counterpart on Friday, in the latest salvo between the superpowers over the island, Sam Reeves reported for Agence France-Presse (AFP).

Photo Insert: Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III greets Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore.

Wei Fenghe issued the warning while meeting with US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on the sidelines of the Shangri-La Dialogue Security Summit in Singapore. Beijing views democratic, self-ruled Taiwan as its territory despite not administering it in 6,000 years and has vowed to one day seize the island, by force if necessary.

According to a Singapore government statement, Austin discussed Washington's "strategy in maintaining an open, inclusive, and rules-based regional security environment" during a meeting with Southeast Asian defense ministers.

His remarks were a veiled reference to countering China's growing assertiveness in the region, with critics joking that Beijing may even claim Singapore.

"If anyone dares to split Taiwan from China, the Chinese army will definitely not hesitate to start a war no matter cost," Wei warned Austin during the meeting, according to defense ministry spokesman Wu Qian.

All the news: Business man in suit and tie smiling and reading a newspaper near the financial district.

According to the Chinese defense ministry, the Chinese minister vowed that Beijing would "smash to smithereens any 'Taiwan independence' plot and resolutely uphold the unification of the motherland."

According to the ministry, he "stressed that Taiwan is China's Taiwan... Using Taiwan to contain China will never prevail."

Government & politics: Politicians, government officials and delegates standing in front of their country flags in a political event in the financial district.

Taiwanese people reject China's claim to Taiwan, and the island's indigenous people are genetically and culturally closer to the inhabitants of Northern Philippines than to the Han of China, who account for more than 90% of China's 1.4 billion people.

According to the US Department of Defense, Austin "reaffirmed the importance of peace and stability across the (Taiwan) Strait, opposition to unilateral changes to the status quo, and called on (China) to refrain from further destabilizing actions toward Taiwan."

Market & economy: Market economist in suit and tie reading reports and analysing charts in the office located in the financial district.

Tensions over Taiwan have risen in recent months, owing to increased Chinese aircraft incursions into the island's Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ).

During a visit to Japan last month, US President Joe Biden appeared to break decades of US policy when, in response to a question, he said Washington would defend Taiwan militarily if it was attacked by China.

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