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US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe meet for the first time

Amid security disputes stretching from Taiwan to disputed waters, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Chinese Minister of National Defense General Wei Fenghe spoke on the sidelines of the Shangri-Dialogue security summit. The.

Seeking to avoid misunderstandings, the first in-person talks since the start of President Joe Biden’s administration come as Washington seeks to refocus its foreign policy on the region after the war in Ukraine.

“We are doing everything we can to make this a professional and substantive meeting and we are going to talk about very serious issues, but no willingness on the part of the United States to put on a public show,” a senior US official said. told Reuters news agency ahead of the meeting.

The meeting is likely to address a range of issues such as opposing views on Taiwan and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, according to Chinese state broadcaster CCTV.

While China claims Taiwan as part of its territory, the United States supports Taiwan’s claim for independence and Biden has confirmed that Washington will support it if it comes under attack.

The two superpowers also agreed on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. While China has supported Russia, the United States is providing aid and arms to Ukraine.

During a phone conversation, Austin was told not to use the Ukraine invasion to “smear, entrap, threaten or pressure China” by Wei.

Besides Taiwan and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, China and the United States have also clashed over Beijing’s extensive claims in the South China Sea.

(With agency contributions)

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