Chinese defence minister underlined that any attempt that aims to split Taiwan from China “will definitely come to no good end.”

Taiwan's Air Force pilots continue exercises to simulate an interception of Chinese aircraft in Taiwan's air defence identification zone.
Taiwan's Air Force pilots continue exercises to simulate an interception of Chinese aircraft in Taiwan's air defence identification zone. (AP)

China will "fight to the very end" to stop Taiwan from declaring independence, the country's defence minister has vowed as tensions soar with the United States over the island.

"We will fight at all cost and we will fight to the very end. This is the only choice for China," Defence Minister Wei Fenghe told the Shangri-La Dialogue security summit in Singapore on Sunday.

"Those who pursue Taiwanese independence in an attempt to split China will definitely come to no good end," he said.

"No one should ever underestimate the resolve and ability of the Chinese armed forces to safeguard its territorial integrity."

His speech came a day after US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin accused China of "provocative, destabilising" military activity close to the island.

Wei said it was up to the United States to improve the bilateral relationship, saying that the ties were at a critical juncture.

"We request the US side to stop smearing and containing China. Stop interfering in China's internal affairs. The bilateral relationship cannot improve unless the US side can do that," Wei said.

Beijing views democratic, self-ruled Taiwan as part of its territory awaiting reunification, by force if necessary.

US-China tensions over the island have risen due in particular to a growing number of Chinese aerial incursions into Taiwan's air defence zone.

But he also struck a more conciliatory tone at points, calling for a "stable" China-US relationship, which he said was "vital for global peace".

During his address, Austin also said he wants "lines of communication" with Chinese officials to remain open.

The pair held their first face-to-face talks on the sidelines of the summit in Singapore on Friday, during which they clashed over Taiwan.

READ MORE: US accuses China of 'provocative' military activity near Taiwan

Myriad disputes

Tensions over Taiwan have escalated in particular due to increasing Chinese military aircraft incursions into the island's air defence identification zone (ADIZ).

President Joe Biden, during a visit to Japan last month, appeared to break decades of US policy when, in response to a question, he said Washington would defend Taiwan militarily if it was attacked by China.

The White House has since insisted its policy of "strategic ambiguity" over whether or not it would intervene had not changed.

The dispute is just the latest between Washington and Beijing.

Another major fl ashpoint has been the South China Sea.

China claims almost all of the resource-rich sea, through which trillions of dollars in shipping trade passes annually, with competing claims from Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam.

The United States and China have also been at loggerheads over Russia's invasion of Ukraine, with Washington accusing Beijing of providing tacit support for Moscow.

READ MORE: China will 'not hesitate to start war' if Taiwan declares independence

Source: TRTWorld and agencies