BEIJING – China’s defense minister made on Monday a veiled criticism of the United States for allegedly interfering in the internal affairs of other countries.
In his keynote address at the opening ceremony of the 9th Beijing Xiangshan Forum, Wei Fenghe vowed that China would never succumb to external pressure.
“Intervening in regional affairs, meddling in other countries’ internal affairs, inciting a ‘color revolution’ and even subverting the legitimate political power of other countries are the real source of regional chaos and wars,” Wei said in statements reported by state-run Global Times.
The minister, who did not mention Washington directly in his speech, has accused US politicians on previous occasions of supporting the protests in Hong Kong.
Wei’s remarks come after the US’ lower house approved the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, which could pave the way for sanctions on those who undermine the rights of the inhabitants of the special administrative region.
Beijing has warned that it will take “strong countermeasures” in response to the passing of the bill.
China has said the proposed US legislation “fully exposes the shocking hypocrisy of some in the US on human rights and democracy and their malicious intention to undermine Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability to contain China’s development.”
Wei stressed in his speech that all countries, “big or small, strong or weak, rich or poor, are equal members of the international community and have the right to choose their own development path.”
“China advocates that all countries in the world respect each other and treat each other equally, not to bully the small, oppress the weak, or have precedence over others.”
The legislation still needs to be approved by the US Senate to become law and would require Washington to assess whether the events in Hong Kong warrant a change in the special trade and business privileges it currently enjoys and would punish those who harmed the semi-autonomy of the financial hub.
Wei also touched upon another thorny issue for China: that of Taiwan, which it considers a rebel province.
“China is the only large country in the world that has not yet achieved complete reunification, and to solve the Taiwan question and achieve complete reunification of the motherland is the general righteous trend and the aspirations of the people, which no one nor any force can stop,” Wei said.
“China will never allow Taiwan secessionists to make reckless moves or external forces to intervene in its internal affairs,” he warned, with an eye on the upcoming presidential elections in Taiwan in Jan. 2020, when current president, the pro-independence Tsai Ing-wen – under whose mandate ties with Beijing have deteriorated – will seek re-election.