US, China defense chiefs hold first talks in 18 months: Pentagon


Washington: US Secretary of Defense lloyd austin spoke to his Chinese counterpart dong jun Tuesday via video teleconference pentagon The talks were called the first substantive talks between the defense chiefs of the superpowers in nearly 18 months.
The United States is working with its allies to strengthen defense cooperation Asia Pacific region To counter China's growing influence, but also to maintain lines of communication with Beijing to prevent tensions from getting out of control.
“The two officials discussed US-PRC defense relations and regional and global security issues,” the Pentagon said in a statement, referring to the People's Republic of China.
“Following conversations between the two sides in recent months, Secretary Austin stressed the importance of continuing open lines of military-to-military communications between the United States and the PRC,” the statement said.
Austin also “reiterated that the United States will continue to fly, sail, and operate safely and responsibly – wherever international law allows,” and “the importance of respecting freedom of navigation in the high seas guaranteed under international law.” highlighted, especially the South China Sea.”
Austin's last significant interaction with a Chinese counterpart was in November 2022, when he met Wei Fenghe in Cambodia.
Wei was then replaced by Li Shangfu, who shook hands and spoke briefly with Austin at a defense conference in Singapore last June, but did not hold a formal meeting with the Pentagon chief.
There are several points of contention between Washington and Beijing, particularly over the democratic, self-ruled island of Taiwan, which China claims as part of its territory and that it could one day take by force if necessary.
Beijing had halted some defense talks between the two countries in 2022 to express its displeasure over then-US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to the island, but US President Joe Biden and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping will resume discussions at a summit in November. Agreed to start from. ,
Disputes over the South China Sea – which Beijing claims almost entirely – are another potential flashpoint, with skirmishes between Chinese and Philippine vessels raising fears of a wider conflict.
The United States has also repeatedly highlighted incidents in recent years in which it says Chinese warplanes and ships have conducted unsafe maneuvers around American aircraft and ships.

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