China's military confident, prepared to safeguard sovereignty, says Defence Minister Chang Wanquan

Chinese Defence Minister Chang Wanquan (second from right) at the Asean Defence Ministers’ Meeting-Plus on Nov 4, 2015.
Chinese Defence Minister Chang Wanquan (second from right) at the Asean Defence Ministers’ Meeting-Plus on Nov 4, 2015.PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

SHANGHAI (REUTERS) - China's military is "confident, capable and fully prepared" to protect the country's sovereignty and territorial integrity, the state-run China Daily on Tuesday quoted Defence Minister Chang Wanquan as saying in reference to Taiwan.

Despite decades of growing trade across the Taiwan Strait, China has never renounced the use of force, if needed, to gain control of Taiwan, which it considers a breakaway province.

Democratic, self-governed Taiwan has shown no interest in being run by Communist-ruled China.

The People's Liberation Army is "confident, capable and fully prepared to resolutely safeguard state sovereignty and territorial integrity", the newspaper quoted Chang as saying on Monday at a reception to mark the 90th anniversary of the military's founding on Aug 1, 1927.

Get The Straits Times
newsletters in your inbox

Adherence to the "1992 consensus" between Beijing and Taipei and opposition to Taiwan independence are the "political foundation of peace and development of cross-Straits relations", Chang said, according to the newspaper.

The "1992 consensus" acknowledges Taiwan and China are part of a single China but allows both to interpret what it means.

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen has angered Beijing by refusing to recognise the "1992 consensus", as the previous China-friendly Kuomintang government did.

The Nationalists fled to Taiwan after their defeat by the Communists in a civil war in 1949.