The US has proposed a meeting between Defense Ministers Lloyd Austin and Li Shangfu to China. As the Pentagon told the Wall Street Journal on Monday, Beijing rejected the initiative. China is said to have accused the US of insincerity.
On Monday, the US Department of Defense confirmed an attempt to set up a meeting between Minister Lloyd Austin and his Chinese counterpart Li Shangfu. At the beginning of May, the USA approached China with a corresponding initiative. From a statement in Wall Street Journal It turns out that the Pentagon’s invitation had been declined. Despite the cancellation, Washington hopes for further cooperation with Beijing.
“The Department firmly believes it is important to maintain open communication between the militaries in Washington and Beijing to ensure competition does not degenerate into hostility.”
According to US plans, a possible meeting could have taken place on the sidelines of the Shangri-La Dialogue, the annual security conference in Singapore. Defense Minister Li will attend the conference as part of his official visit to the Asian city-state from May 31 to June 4. His refusal to meet with Lloyd was perceived as “an unusually blunt message,” he said WSJ citing an unnamed Pentagon official.
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The Financial Times had previously reported that there might be little chance of a meeting between Lloyd and Li. According to the newspaper, one reason for this could be the US sanctions against the Chinese defense minister for his alleged role in the purchase of Russian weapons. Last week, the Chinese Defense Ministry questioned Washington’s sincerity. According to the agency, the US wants to be ready for a dialogue, but at the same time is trying to suppress China. All possible means, such as restrictions against Chinese citizens and organizations, are to be used.
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