Tensions between the United States and China have intensified in recent years.
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U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Saturday refused to hold military talks and blamed China for a superpower stalemate over territorial disputes between Taiwan and the South China Sea.
At the Shangri-La Dialogue, Asia’s premier security summit, Austin said Beijing’s refusal to talk at the conference undermined efforts to maintain peace in a region where the rival nations are building up their military capabilities. said it will.
“I am deeply concerned by China’s (People’s Republic of China) reluctance to work more seriously on better mechanisms for crisis management between our militaries,” Austin said at a meeting in Singapore. rice field.
“The more conversations we have, the more misunderstandings and miscalculations that can lead to crises and conflicts can be avoided.”
Chinese military officials have hit back, blaming the United States for disrupting dialogue by tightening sanctions on Chinese officials and destabilizing the Asia-Pacific with its military presence.
General Jin Jiangfeng told reporters at the summit that “Sino-US military relations are facing difficulties, and the responsibility lies entirely with the United States.”
“China attaches great importance to the development of China-US military relations, and exchanges and communication between the two countries have never been interrupted.”
US and Canadian warships sailed through the Taiwan Strait during Austin’s speech on Saturday, The Wall Street Journal reported, in a show of military power that has infuriated China in the past. likely to further widen the gap between
There was also a faint hope that the annual Shangri-La Dialogue would offer an opportunity to mend relations between the United States and China, which are at their worst in decades.
Washington and Beijing are at odds over everything from the future of a democratic Taiwan to territorial claims in the South China Sea to President Joe Biden’s restrictions on semiconductor chip exports.
Chinese Defense Minister Li Sangfu turned down an invitation to meet Austin at a security summit this week. Lee, a US-sanctioned general, will give his own speech on Sunday.
The two men shook hands at the side of the meeting on Friday, but no further details were discussed, according to the Pentagon.
“A heartfelt handshake over dinner is no substitute for a substantive commitment,” Austin said.
Talks between the two countries have stalled since US Secretary of State Anthony Brinken called off a visit to China in February after what appeared to be a Chinese spy balloon was confirmed to have flown over the United States.
One of the most thorny security issues between the two superpowers is over the future of Taiwan, which Beijing wants to rule.
Concerns are growing that the United States may be embroiled in a conflict and China may invade Taiwan.
Austin cited Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as an example of “how dangerous our world would be if a great power could invade its peaceful neighbor with impunity.”
He said the US is “deeply committed” to maintaining the status quo in Taiwan and opposes unilateral changes from either side.
“Conflict is neither imminent nor inevitable,” Austin said. “Deterrence is strong today, and it’s our job to maintain it.”
General Jin said Austin’s comments were misleading and accused the United States of creating direct diplomatic ties with Taiwan and fueling tensions by increasing arms sales to the territory.
“The United States is using Taiwan to contain China, and the Taiwanese separatist forces are seeking U.S. assistance to promote independence,” Jin told reporters.