Japan will open to tourists after 2 years with strict guidelines in place

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – China will “fight to the end” to prevent Taiwan’s independence, the country’s defense minister promised on Sunday, already stoking tensions with the United States over the island.
The superpowers are locked in a growing war of words on the democratic, self-governing island, which Beijing sees as part of its territory awaiting reunification.
Frequent Chinese air raids near Taiwan have raised diplomatic temperatures, and on Saturday US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin accused Beijing of ‘destabilizing’ military activity in a speech at the Dialogue security summit. of Shangri-La.
Defense Minister Wei Fenghe hit back in a fiery speech at the same event, saying Beijing had “no choice” but to fight if attempts were made to separate Taiwan from China.
“We will fight at all costs, and we will fight until the end,” he said.
“No one should ever underestimate the determination and ability of the Chinese armed forces to safeguard their territorial integrity.”
“Those who pursue Taiwan independence with the aim of dividing China will certainly achieve nothing,” he added.
Wei urged Washington to “stop smearing and restraining China…stop interfering in China’s internal affairs and stop harming China’s interests.”
But he also struck a more conciliatory tone at times, calling for a “stable” relationship between China and the United States, which he said was “vital for world peace”.
During his speech, Austin stressed the importance of “fully open lines of communication with Chinese defense leaders” to avoid miscalculations.
The two men held their first face-to-face on Friday on the sidelines of the Singapore summit, during which they clashed over Taiwan.

Tensions over Taiwan have escalated in part due to increased incursions by Chinese military aircraft into the island’s Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ).
President Joe Biden, during a visit to Japan last month, appeared to shatter decades of US policy when, in response to a question, he said Washington would defend Taiwan militarily if attacked by China.
The White House has since insisted that its policy of “strategic ambiguity” over whether or not it will intervene has not changed.
The dispute is just the latest between Washington and Beijing, who have clashed over everything from the South China Sea to human rights in Hong Kong and Xinjiang.
China’s expansive claims to the sea, through which billions of dollars in maritime trade pass each year, have stoked tensions with rival claimants Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam.
China, whose landmark claims were dismissed in a landmark 2016 Hague ruling, has been accused of flying its planes and sailing its boats near the shores of rival claimants, and of intercepting patrol planes in international airspace in a dangerous manner.
Wei insisted on Sunday that China respects freedom of navigation in the seas and delivered a veiled blow to Washington.
“Some major powers have long practiced shipping hegemony under the guise of freedom of navigation,” he said. “He flexed his muscles as he sent warships and warplanes rampaging through the South China Sea.”
Wei said China – North Korea’s main ally – wants peace on the Korean peninsula after bombardment with rocket launches from Pyongyang and as fears grow it is preparing for a nuclear test.
“The key to (solving) the problem now is to pay attention and respect the security interests of all parties,” he said.
Speaking at the Shangri-La dialogue on Sunday, South Korean Defense Minister Lee Jong-sup said Seoul would strengthen its defense capabilities and work with the United States against the threat from the North.
“The level of tension on the Korean Peninsula remains higher than anywhere else in the world,” he said.
The United States and China are also at odds over the Russian invasion of Ukraine, with Washington accusing Beijing of providing tacit support to Moscow.

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