Chinese Defense Minister Calls for Coordinated, Cooperative, Stable China-U.S. Relationship
(Source: Xinhua; issued June 02, 2019)
SINGAPORE --- Chinese State Councilor and Defense Minister Wei Fenghe said here on Sunday that China and the United States should follow the consensus by the two heads of state and promote a China-U.S. relationship featuring coordination, cooperation and stability.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and the United States, and the bilateral relationship grew steadily in the past 40 years, despite all the ups and downs, said Wei in a speech at the 18th Shangri-La Dialogue.

"The most valuable lesson we have learned from the four-decade-long relationship is that cooperation benefits the two sides while confrontation hurts both," he said.

The Chinese minister said the militaries of the two countries have agreed on many important issues through continued communication, including agreements on making their relationship a stabilizer for the overall relations, and maintaining regular communication on the strategic level.

Wei said that he had a candid and practical discussion with U.S. Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan on Friday, and they reaffirmed the importance of maintaining communication and developing a constructive military-to-military relationship.

In terms of managing risks and preventing conflicts, Wei said China and the United States recognize that military conflicts or even a war between them would bring disasters to both countries and the world.

"It takes two to cooperate, but only one to start a fight," he said. "We hope that the U.S. side will work with us towards the same goal, follow the principles of non-conflict, non-confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation, and steer the China-U.S. relations in the right direction."

Wei leads the Chinese delegation at the 18th Shangri-La Dialogue, which opened Friday to discuss the security situation and challenges in the Asia-Pacific.

Officially known as the Asia Security Summit, the Shangri-La Dialogue has been organized and convened annually by the British think tank International Institute for Strategic Studies and the Singaporean government since 2002.

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Where There are Threats, There are Defenses: Chinese Defense Minister on South China Sea
(Source: Xinhuanet; issued June 02, 2019)
SINGAPORE --- Chinese State Councilor and Defense Minister Wei Fenghe said here on Sunday that China's construction on its South China Sea islands and reefs is its legitimate right and is purely defensive in nature.

"The current situation in the South China Sea is improving towards greater stability. It is attributed to the common efforts of the countries in the region," Wei said. "However, there are always people trying to rake in profits by stirring up troubles in the region."

He said over 100,000 ships sail through the South China Sea each year, and "none has been threatened."

However, in recent years, some countries outside the region come to the South China Sea to flex muscles, in the name of freedom of navigation. "The large-scale force projection and offensive operations in the region are the most serious destabilizing and uncertain factors in the South China Sea," he said.

If there is chaos in the South China Sea, the regional countries are the ones who will bear the brunt, and China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries have made progress in negotiating the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea, he added.

Wei noted that China's construction on its South China Sea islands and reefs is legitimate and defensive in nature. "It is the legitimate right of a sovereign state to carry out construction on its own territory. China built limited defense facilities on the islands and reefs for self-defense," he said.

"Where there are threats, there are defenses. In the face of heavily armed warships and military aircraft, how can we stay impervious and not build some defense facilities?" he asked.

He also refuted the saying of "militarization" of China's defensive construction on its South China Sea islands and reefs at the Q&A session. "Anyone who has some military sense would know it's not militarization," he said.

Wei is here to attend the 18th Shangri-La Dialogue from Friday to Sunday, and he gave a keynote speech on Sunday morning at a plenary session entitled "China and International Security Cooperation."

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