BEIJING, November 22. /TASS/. China's armed forces have the strength, confidence and all the necessary capabilities to ensure the unification of the country, National Defense Minister and Chinese State Councilor Wei Fenghe said on Tuesday during a meeting with Pentagon Chief Lloyd Austin on the sidelines of the ASEAN Defense Ministers' Meeting in Cambodia.
"The People's Liberation Army of China has the fortitude, strength, confidence and all the necessary capabilities to firmly defend the unification of the motherland," China's Defense Ministry quoted Wei Fenghe as saying on its WeChat page.
The meeting was held on the sidelines of the ASEAN Defense Ministers' Meeting and an expanded meeting with dialogue partners held in Siem Reap, Cambodia from November 21 to 23.
The previous meeting between the Chinese and US defense chiefs was held in June in Singapore on the sidelines of the Shangri-La Dialogue regional security forum. However, after US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taiwan in August, relations between Beijing and Washington deteriorated sharply and the defense dialogue was effectively suspended.
Taiwan has been governed by its own administration since 1949. Official Beijing considers Taiwan a province of the People’s Republic of China, and this position is backed by numerous countries, including Russia. Washington severed diplomatic relations with Taipei in 1979 and established relations with the PRC. While recognizing the ‘one-China’ policy, Washington still continues to maintain contact with the Taipei administration and supplies the island with arms.