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China welcomes the United States" willingness to develop a stable military-to-military relationship, but will remain steadfast in safeguarding national sovereignty and security, a senior Chinese military official said on Saturday in Singapore.
In a keynote speech at the annual Shangri-La Dialogue on Saturday morning, acting US Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said that China and the US can still have a cooperative relationship. Although competition does exist between the two countries, it does not always mean conflict, he added.
Shanahan also noted some "destabilizing activities" in Asia and emphasized the US"s military presence and commitment in the region. He called for more communication between the US and Chinese militaries to settle their differences and build a constructive relationship.
Lieutenant General Shao Yuanming, deputy chief of the Joint Staff Department of China"s Central Military Commission, said in an afternoon media briefing on behalf of the Chinese delegation that the People"s Liberation Army appreciates the US" willingness to communicate and maintain a stable China-US military relationship.
However, Shao said Shanahan also made some inaccurate claims on China"s military development and strategic intentions in his speech, "and the PLA resolutely opposes these accusations".
Regarding the Taiwan question, the US side has reiterated its military support to the island based on the so-called Taiwan Relation Act.
"I must stress that Taiwan is an inseparable part of China, and the one-China principle is the foundation of China-US relations and an international consensus," Shao said.
"The US side has conducted a series of negative rhetoric and actions regarding the Taiwan question, violated the one-China principle and the three China-US joint communiques," he said.
"This has undermined China"s sovereignty and security, sent a seriously wrong message to Taiwan secessionists, and disrupted regional peace and stability," Shao said, adding that China must, and will be, reunified.
"If anyone tries to separate Taiwan from the mainland, the Chinese military will adamantly protect its territorial integrity at all costs," he said.
As for the South China Sea, Shanahan accused China of undermining freedom of navigation and overflight in the region, and militarizing the local islands.