Singapore, 11 June 2022 (TDI): The Defense Chiefs of China and the United States met in Singapore on Friday during the IISS Shangri-La Dialogue.
The Shangri-La Dialogue is organized by the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies. It is taking place in Singapore from June 10 to 12.
The dialogue brings military officials and diplomats from more than 30 countries together to discuss a variety of pressing regional and international issues.
Above all, the dialogue will signal a welcome return to face-to-face diplomacy after two years of virtual meetings.
Pleased to meet with Minister Lee in person for the first time here at the Shangri-La Dialogue. I’m looking forward to strengthening the close bonds between our countries as we reaffirm the ironclad U.S. commitment to the defense of the ROK. We go together. #SLD22 pic.twitter.com/PnrBvCBqD2
— Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III (@SecDef) June 11, 2022
The Shangri-La Dialogue, which began in 2002, takes place at a time when global geopolitical volatility is escalating. Washington and Beijing have been at odds over a number of issues in recent months
The problems concern Taiwan’s future, Chinese operations in the South China Sea, and China’s recent endeavor to expand its influence in the South Pacific, while the United States has introduced the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF), meant to counter Beijing’s growing footprint in the region.
Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio is one of the 30-plus speakers, and he is scheduled to deliver the Dialogue’s keynote talk.
It will be the first by a Japanese leader since then-Prime Minister Abe Shinzo’s presentation in 2014.
China Opposes the Selling of Armaments to Taiwan.
The Shangri-La Dialogue defense forum, which will remain until Sunday, brings together top defense and security officials from 42 countries.
US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is set to talk on Saturday. While Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe will speak on Sunday.
“Taiwan island is China’s, and the ‘One China’ principle is the fundamental underpinning of China-US ties,” Wei Fenghe said to his counterpart.
“China strongly opposes the United States’ most recent arms supplies to the island,” Wei said, referring to a $120 million arms deal agreed earlier this week between Washington and Taipei.
The Singapore meeting, which took place at Beijing’s request, comes at a time when Washington is focused more on the Asia-Pacific region, bolstering bilateral and multilateral assistance as it strives to restrict Beijing’s expanding influence since the Joe Biden administration took office in January 2021.
Taiwan is said to have dominated the negotiations, with both sides underlining the “importance of appropriately managing competition and maintaining open lines of communication.”
The meeting between top Chinese and US defense officials comes after US President Joe Biden warned last month that if China tried to take over Taiwan, Washington would use military force.
Moreover, the US administration recently revealed its China policy.
Refrain from Disruptive Moves Against Taiwan.
Taiwan is considered a “breakaway province” by China, yet Taipei has maintained its independence since 1949, maintaining full diplomatic relations with 14 countries.
US Defense Secretary reaffirmed the significance of peace and stability across the (Taiwan) Strait, expressed opposition to unilateral changes to the status quo, and called on the PRC to refrain from additional destabilizing measures toward Taiwan.
“The Chinese military will not hesitate to demolish any attempt at ‘Taiwan independence’ to safeguard national unity,” Wei responded.
Greater aviation and naval activity in the Taiwan Strait have come from increased interactions between Washington and Taipei since the former Donald Trump administration.
While Biden has made four arms sales to Taiwan since taking office last year, many current and former US lawmakers and officials have visited the island nation, enraging Beijing, while the US continues to sail its warships south of mainland China under the guise of “freedom of navigation.”