Agence France Presse

Beijing, January 12:

China’s Minister of Defence Cao Gangchuan told US military representatives Beijing will never allow Taiwan to become an independent state, state press reported today. “We Chinese are firmly opposed to all secessionist activities that aim towards Taiwan independence,” Xinhua quoted Cao as telling a delegation from the Armed Services Committee of the House of Representatives of America, led by Randy Forbes and Ike Skelton. “We will never allow anyone separate Taiwan from China through whatever means,” adding however China would “do its utmost” for peaceful reunification with Taiwan.

Beijing considers Taiwan a renegade province that awaits reunification, by force if necessary, since the two sides split in 1949 after a civil war on the mainland. Cao also expressed optimism about expanding Sino-US military ties, saying improving bilateral military links would be conducive towards the peace and stability of the region.