Federal Defense Minister Pistorius takes part in the so-called Shangri-La Dialogue. Even before the start of the conference, China’s new defense minister made people sit up and take notice with a statement about Taiwan.
Defense Minister Boris Pistorius has arrived in Asia for a multi-day trip. The SPD politician ended up in Singapore, where he is taking part in the Shangri-La Dialog security conference until Sunday and also wants to explain German politics in the region.
The international meeting is about China’s growing influence and claims to power as well as the consequences of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine. A keynote speech by US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has been announced for Saturday, and China’s Defense Minister Li Shangfu will speak on China’s new security agenda on Sunday.
The Shangri-La Dialogue is considered the most important security policy forum in the Indo-Pacific region at defense minister level. This year, representatives from 40 countries have announced their attendance, including European defense ministers.
Pistorius will continue to Indonesia and later India on Sunday. The federal government has drawn up so-called guidelines for the Indo-Pacific, which deal with Germany’s greater involvement in the economically and strategically important region.
At the start of the security conference, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell called for closer cooperation between Europe and Asia. “In a variety of issues and conflicts – from the invasion of Ukraine to tensions in the South China Sea – we should defend key security principles together whenever and wherever they are threatened,” Borrell told the German Press Agency. The EU is doing this and counting on partners to do the same.
China’s defense minister threatens to conquer Taiwan
The Chinese defense minister threatened a military conquest of Taiwan. Before the start of the security conference, General Li, in a meeting with Singapore’s Defense Minister Ng Eng Hen, said China aims for peaceful “reunification” but will not allow Taipei’s ruling Progressive Party (DPP) to seek independence.
“We will never promise to refrain from using force,” Chinese state media quoted him as saying. “China must be united.” The Chinese leadership will resolutely defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity, the general said.
China regards the democratic island republic as part of the People’s Republic. However, Taiwan, which today has a population of 23 million, has had an independent government for more than seven decades. After Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, concerns have grown that China could use similar violence against Taiwan.
The United States has committed itself to the island’s defense capability, which has so far primarily meant arms deliveries. However, US President Joe Biden had pledged to use US troops to help Taiwan in the event of a Chinese attack.
Pentagon boss Austin had asked his Chinese counterpart to meet on the sidelines of the conference. However, the Chinese side rejected this. One point of contention is that the US imposed sanctions on the general in 2018, which Beijing is demanding are lifted. In any case, there is largely radio silence between the two countries, as relations have fallen to a low point.
I have been working in the news industry for over 6 years, first as a reporter and now as an editor. I have covered politics extensively, and my work has appeared in major newspapers and online news outlets around the world. In addition to my writing, I also contribute regularly to 24 Hours World.