Jan 10, 2024 - World

China says it will "never compromise" on Taiwan

An honor guard during a flag raising ceremony at Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall in Taipei, Taiwan, on Wednesday, Dec. 27, 2023.

An honor guard during a flag raising ceremony at Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall in Taipei, Taiwan, on Wednesday, Dec. 27, 2023. Photo: An Rong Xu/Bloomberg via Getty Images

China will "never compromise or yield on the Taiwan issue," China's Ministry of Defense said in a statement Wednesday after the conclusion of a U.S.-China military dialogue held in Washington, DC.

Why it matters: The stark language is standard for China but also underscores that the Chinese government is firmly committed to its core interests ahead of improved ties with the U.S. The statement also comes ahead of a key election in Taiwan, in which cross-Strait relations are a top issue for voters.

What they're saying: The statement also demanded the U.S. "stop arming Taiwan" and "not support Taiwan independence."

  • But the statement also contained some affirmations of the progress made in the bilateral relationship after China agreed to resume military communications with the U.S. in November, including that China is "willing to develop a sound and stable military-to-military relationship with the U.S. side on the basis of equality and respect."
  • It also said the U.S. "needs to take seriously China's concerns and do more things that contribute to the growth of the mil-mil relationship."

The other side: The U.S. Department of Defense readout, posted on Jan. 9, said the U.S. "reiterated that the United States remains committed to our longstanding one China policy" and "reaffirmed the importance of peace and stability across the Strait."

Background: This week marks the first time the U.S.-China Defense Policy Coordination Talks were held since 2021.

  • China suspended some military-to-military communications with the U.S. after Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan in 2022, the first House speaker to do so in 25 years.
  • China agreed to resume military communications after Chinese leader Xi Jinping met with President Biden at APEC in San Francisco in November, following extensive diplomacy and lobbying from the U.S.
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