According to the South China Morning Post, General Li Zuocheng raised the issue with Admiral John Richardson on Monday as part of the latter’s three-day trip to China. Beijing has been flexing its muscles in the region but Taiwan still remains a flashpoint between the two superpowers. The state is still considered as part of China’s territory even though the two have been ruled separately since 1949.
According to the report, General Li informed Mr Richardson: “The Taiwan issue is a matter of China’s internal affairs which concerns China’s core interests and the feelings of the Chinese people across the Taiwan Strait, and China will not allow any outside interference.
“If anyone wants to separate Taiwan from China, the Chinese military will safeguard the national unity at all costs so as to protect China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
Washington supported Taiwan at the end of the Chinese Civil War but the two countries severed official diplomatic ties in 1979.
America still supplies arms to Taipei and remains the country’s most powerful ally.
Taiwan is the largest state not to be recognised by the UN and China sees it as part of its “one-China” policy.
General Li added: “The two militaries should respect each other, strengthen mutual trust and communication, properly manage risks, and work to make military exchanges a stabiliser of the Sino-US relationship.
“The ups and downs experienced during the 40 years since the establishment of Sino-US ties have shown that the mutual interests between China and the US far outweigh the differences, and that cooperation is the best choice for both sides.”
Mr Richardson also moved to praise the “constructive and candid” discussion held between the two.
He said: “Our two countries have many aligned interests and all countries benefit from a free, open and secure Indo-Pacific.”
Relations between the two countries have suffered recently as they are currently locked in a trade war while Beijing has also increased it claims in the area.
The US has sent aircraft and ships to conduct regular patrols in the area and has sent several ships through the Taiwan Strait.
China views these ships as a breach of its sovereignty while America views the route as international waters.