China's Ministry of National Defense stressed on Monday the priority to end violence in Hong Kong and restore order as soon as possible as the city endures escalating clashes between rioters and police.
Ministry spokesperson Wu Qian made the comments in Bangkok, Thailand, at a briefing following a meeting between defense ministers from China and the U.S. on the sidelines of the 10th China-ASEAN Defense Ministers' Informal Meeting.
Responding to a question about soldiers from the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Hong Kong Garrison joining clean-up work in Hong Kong over the weekend, Wu said the move was welcomed by local residents and reaffirmed the garrison's role on the Chinese territory.
"The PLA Hong Kong Garrison will safeguard China's sovereign security and development interests as well as maintain Hong Kong's long-term prosperity and stability under the Basic Law and Garrison Law," Wu told reporters.
Describing the meeting as "positive and constructive," Wu said China's Defense Minister Wei Fenghe also reiterated Beijing's position on Taiwan and the South China Sea to his U.S. counterpart Mark Esper during the meeting.
"We stick to a peaceful approach to resolve the Taiwan question and will not tolerate any 'Taiwan independence' incidents. We hope the U.S. side could handle related issues properly and not add new uncertainties to the Strait," Wu said.
Regarding the South China Sea, Wu said China urges the U.S. to stop "flexing muscles" and provocation, saying the situation is improving towards stability with the help of countries in the region.