China refuses US defense chiefs meeting.

China refuses US defense chiefs meeting.
Image: Reuters

According to media reports, China declined a request from the United States to meet their defense chiefs this weekend at an annual security forum in Singapore.

“Overnight, the PRC informed the US that they had declined Secretary (Lloyd) Austin’s invitation to meet with PRC Minister of National Defense Li Shangfu in Singapore,” the Pentagon said in a statement to the Wall Street Journal.

The Pentagon advocated for open communication “to ensure that competition does not veer into conflict.”

According to White House spokesman John Kirby, the Defense Department is discussing talks between Austin and his Chinese counterpart, who was appointed defense minister in March.

Given the regional security tensions and trade disputes that have stymied the world’s two largest economies’ re-engagement, the meeting was closely watched

China’s foreign ministry blamed the US for the decision on Tuesday, saying Washington was “well aware” of the military communication problems.

“The US side should… immediately correct its wrongdoings, demonstrate sincerity, and create the necessary atmosphere and conditions for dialogue and communication between the two militaries,” foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said at a press conference.

Gina Raimondo and Wang Wentao sparred over trade, investment, and export policies in Washington last week, in the first cabinet-level meeting between the United States and China in months.

Ian Storey, a Singaporean security analyst, was concerned by China’s rejection of Austin.

“At a time of rising U.S.-China tensions, General Li’s refusal to meet with his American counterpart will fray regional nerves even further,” Storey said.

On Friday, Austin and Li will attend the annual Shangri-la Dialogue in Singapore, an informal gathering of defense officials and analysts that includes side meetings.

Both will meet bilaterally with regional counterparts.

According to security experts, Li, a veteran of the People’s Liberation Army modernization effort, has been sanctioned by the United States since 2018 for purchasing combat aircraft and equipment from Rosoboronexport, Russia’s main arms exporter.

Li is a member of Xi Jinping’s Central Military Commission

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Hi, I'm Alex Perez, an experienced writer with a focus on lifestyle and culture news. From food and fashion to travel and entertainment, I love exploring the latest trends and sharing my insights with readers. I also have a strong interest in world news and business, and enjoy covering breaking stories and events.

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