The Biden Administration Warns China: ‘We Will Surround China.’ The Chinese Government Tells America: ‘We Will Fight Back, No Matter The Cost.’

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin III recently told China’s Minister of National Defense Li Shangfu that the US will continue to surround China, to which Shangfu responded that China will fight back no matter the cost. The statements were made at the Shangri-La luxury hotel in Singapore. As we read in The Nation:

In their speeches, moreover, each official laid out their vision of the emerging strategic landscape in Asia, with Austin delineating US plans for the military encirclement of China and Li describing China’s efforts to resist US “hegemonism.”

For his part, Secretary Austin outlined a grand strategy to surround China with US military bases and US-armed allies. Minister Li, speaking after Austin, spoke of China’s preference for peaceful relations with Washington, but indicated that it would respond to any unjustified US provocations—including over Taiwan—with unrestrained military force.

Accusing China of “bullying” its neighbors and endangering the free flow of commerce in the western Pacific, Austin promised a vigorous US riposte. “We’ll continue to stand by our allies and partners as they uphold their rights. We will maintain our vigorous and responsible presence across the Indo-Pacific. And we’ll continue to work to ensure that no one country [i.e., China] can assert control over shared waterways.” He then outlined the steps the United States was taking to bolster its military presence in the region and to build an intertwined network of allies committed to China’s encirclement.

In essence, Li argued that China only seeks peace, stability, and prosperity in the region, while it is the United States—through its intrusive actions identified above—that is responsible for all the instability and discord.
“People cannot but ask these questions: Who is disrupting peace in the region? What are the root causes of chaos and instability?” Without naming names, Li suggested that the answer was not hard to identify: While China has pursued the path of peace, “some country is expanding military bases, reinforcing military presence and intensifying arms race in the…or such practices which it often resorts to are designed to make enemy/confrontation, fuel the fire, and fish in troubled waters.”

Li also accused the US of “hegemonism,” or coercing local powers into joining its NATO-like enterprise in Asia—a path, he suggested, that can only result in crisis and conflict. “The true design of pushing for NATO-like military alliances in the Asia-Pacific is to hold countries in the region hostage and play up conflict and confrontation that will only [plunge] the region into a whirlpool of division, disputes and conflicts.” Local powers, he asserted, should reject such coercion by the US and disallow the formation of military blocs in the region.

But the greatest danger, Li indicated, arises from US efforts to support efforts by some in Taiwan to sever the island from China, despite its historic and legal ties to the mainland. “Taiwan is China’s Taiwan, and how to resolve the Taiwan question is a matter for the Chinese to decide,” he asserted. By providing arms and military training to the Taiwanese, the US is encouraging separatist forces on the island—currently led by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP)—and thus is responsible for the current tension in the area. “People across world can see clearly that the root cause of tensions across the Taiwan Strait, are the DPP authorities soliciting foreign support for independence, and some foreign forces attempt to contain China with Taiwan and interfere in China’s internal affairs.”

Further US interference of this sort, Li suggested, can only result in war. “China must be and will be reunified…. We will strive for the prospects of peaceful reunification with utmost sincerity and greatest efforts, but we make no promise to renounce the use of force. If anyone dares to separate Taiwan from China, the Chinese military will not hesitate for a second. We will fear no opponents and resolutely safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity, regardless of any cost.”