China will not hesitate to start a war if Taiwan is pulled away from China, Chinese Defense Ministry Spokesperson Wu Qian said on Friday.
“If anyone dares to rip Taiwan away from our country, the People’s Liberation Army of China will not hesitate to start a war,” Wu Qian was quoted by the CCTV as saying after a meeting between Defense Minister Wei Fenghe and his US counterpart Lloyd Austin in Singapore.
“We will firmly defend our country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
Meanwhile, Austin and Wei discussed the need to responsibly manage competition and maintain open lines of communication, the Pentagon said.
“Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III met today with the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) Minister of National Defense General Wei Fenghe on the margins of the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore. Secretary Austin and General Wei discussed US-PRC defense relations and regional security issues,” the statement said.
According to the Pentagon, Austin focused on “the need to responsibly manage competition and maintain open lines of communication.”
“The Secretary underscored the importance of the People’s Liberation Army engaging in substantive dialogue on improving crisis communications and reducing strategic risk,” it added.
The two also discussed North Korea and the Russia-Ukraine crisis. During the talks, the Pentagon chief reaffirmed US commitment to “our longstanding One-China policy,” according to the statement.
The meeting was the first in-person meeting between Austin and Wei, who last spoke with each other over the phone on April 20, which was itself the first such call since the Biden administration took office.
China, last month, in response to a US congressional delegation visit to Taiwan, sent 30 warplanes near the island and urged the US to avoid sending signals of Taiwanese independence.
The Shangri-La Dialogue is an annual event designed to allow heads of state and top defense officials to meet in person to discuss security challenges. The event did not take place in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Norway Terminates Contract for NH90 Helicopters
Norway has terminated a contract with NATO Helicopter Industries for NH90 helicopters due to their non-compliance with the requirements of the Norwegian Armed Forces, the ministry of defense said on Friday, adding that it will request a refund of $516 million.
“The Norwegian Defence Material Agency has subsequently informed the manufacturer of the NH90, NATO Helicopter Industries (NHI), that it has terminated the contract in its entirety,” the ministry said in a statement, adding that helicopters and all the spare parts will be returned.
Norway will also request a refund of 5 billion Norwegian Krones ($516.5 million) from NHI that were paid under the contract in addition to interest and other expenses, the ministry added.
“We have made repeated attempts at resolving the problems related to the NH90 in cooperation with NHI, but more than 20 years after the contract was signed, we still don’t have helicopters capable of performing the missions for which they were bought, and without NHI being able to present us with any realistic solutions,” Gro Jaere, Director General of the Norwegian Defence Materiel Agency, said.
Later in the day, NHI responded to the Norwegian defense ministry’s statement about the unsatisfactory performance of helicopters.
“NHIndustries is extremely disappointed by the decision taken by the Norwegian Ministry of Defence and refutes the allegations being made against the NH90 as well as against the company.
NHIndustries was not offered the possibility to discuss the latest proposal made to improve the availability of the NH90 in Norway and to address the specific Norwegian requirements,” the company said.
NHI noted that termination of the contract is legally groundless.
In 2001, Norway bought 14 NH90 helicopters with the condition that the equipment would be delivered by the end of 2008. As of today, only eight helicopters have been delivered in a fully operational configuration, the ministry said.
South Korea Mulling Unilateral Sanctions If North Conducts Nuclear Test
South Korea is exploring the possibility of imposing unilateral sanctions against North Korea in the event of another nuclear test, after China and Russia vetoed US-sponsored resolution at the UN Security Council proposing more international sanctions, South Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin said on Friday.
“The new government has reviewed the matter of unilaterally imposing sanctions on North Korea and is discussing various detailed measures,” Park told the Yonhap news agency.
This statement came two days before Park’s scheduled visit to the United States amid fears that Pyongyang may be preparing for the seventh nuclear test.
Park warned that North Korea is ready for a new nuclear test and it is only a matter of time before it takes place.
If the test is carried out, South Korea pledges to respond with “a resolute deterrence posture,” the minister said, adding that disagreement in the UN Security Council will be overcome through diplomacy.
On May 26, Russia and China vetoed the US-sponsored resolution at the UN Security Council to impose additional restrictive measures on North Korea.
The US undertook the initiative after North Korea test-launched three ballistic missiles toward the Sea of Japan just hours after President Joe Biden concluded his trip to South Korea and Japan for meetings with his counterparts to discuss regional security and trade.
The vetoed resolution would tighten sanctions on vessels serving a role in North Korea’s nuclear weapon or ballistic missile program, according to a copy of the draft obtained by Sputnik. The measure would also seek to prohibit North Korea from exporting mineral fuels, mineral oils and other products of their distillation.
Canada, Singapore Ink Defense Deal
Canada and Singapore signed a new defense cooperation deal on Friday to boost interaction between their armed forces, Defense Minister Anita Anand said.
The minister is on a visit to Singapore, which is hosting the Shangri-La Dialogue defense summit on June 10–12. Anand has held a number of bilateral meetings, including with her Singaporean counterpart, Ng Eng Hen.
“We also signed a new Defense Cooperation Agreement between Canada and Singapore, to enable increased opportunities for interaction and partnership between our armed forces. I look forward to further strengthening collaboration between our countries in the years to come,” Anand said.
The minister added that the two countries will both participate in RIMPAC 2022, the world’s largest naval exercise.
Canada’s foreign ministry announced the creation of a new Indo-Pacific Advisory Committee that will be in charge of the country’s policy in the “critically important” region.