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Tuesday, Oct 15, 2019

China invokes Abraham Lincoln in justifying push to take Taiwan

China’s Defence Minister Wei Fenghe on Sunday invoked Lincoln’s efforts during the US Civil War to justify Beijing’s approach toward Taiwan, which it sees as an integral part of its territory that must be unified by force if necessary.

world Updated: Jun 02, 2019 12:21 IST
Krystal Chia and Alfred Cang
Krystal Chia and Alfred Cang
Bloomberg
Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe speaks at the IISS Shangri-la Dialogue in Singapore.
Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe speaks at the IISS Shangri-la Dialogue in Singapore.(Reuters Photo)
         

When it comes to Taiwan, China’s generals say they are simply following the example of US President Abraham Lincoln.

China’s Defence Minister Wei Fenghe on Sunday invoked Lincoln’s efforts during the US Civil War to justify Beijing’s approach toward Taiwan, which it sees as an integral part of its territory that must be unified by force if necessary.

“American friends told me that Abraham Lincoln was the greatest American president because he led the country to victory in the Civil War and prevented the secession of the US,” Wei said on Sunday at the Shangri-La Dialogue, a security conference in Singapore. “The US is indivisible, so is China. China must be and will be reunified.”

Tensions over China and Taiwan have increased in recent months, with the US regularly sailing warships through the Taiwan Strait. The Trump administration has defended the moves as demonstrations of free passage allowed by international law, while China sees them as provocations.

The US is obligated to sell “arms of a defensive character” to Taipei under the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act. Trump administration officials have given tacit approval to Taipei’s request to buy more than 60 Lockheed Martin Corp. F-16s, Bloomberg reported in March, prompting a fresh protest from China.

Wei said that China could “find no justifiable reasons” for the US to get involved with China through its domestic law.

“No attempts to split China shall succeed,” he said, adding that “foreign intervention in the Taiwan question is doomed to failure.”

First Published: Jun 02, 2019 12:21 IST

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