On the sidelines of the annual Shangri La Dialogue in Singapore during an interaction on Friday, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin warned his Chinese counterpart that Beijing “must refrain from further destabilizing actions against Taiwan”.
According to The Hill, Austin met his Chinese counterpart General Wei Fenghe at the annual Shangri-La Dialogue, the Pentagon said in a statement, adding that it reiterated the US’s continued commitment to the long-standing One-China policy, which is being guided by the Taiwan Relations Act, the three joint US-China communiqués and the six insurance policies.
“The secretary reaffirmed the importance of peace and stability in the Strait, opposition to unilateral changes in the status quo, and called on the PRC to refrain from further destabilizing actions against Taiwan,” it added.
Tensions between the US and China over Taiwan have risen sharply during the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
US President Joe Biden sparked tension during his first trip to Asia as president in May, when he said the US would be willing to defend Taiwan if China tried to invade. Two days later, China held a military exercise near Taiwan.
The Wall Street Journal also reported last month that the defense chiefs planned to meet during the dialogue, although nothing was set in stone. Austin and Wei last spoke by phone in April, the first conversation between the two officials.
On April 20, Austin and Wei spoke for about 45 minutes, marking the first time a US defense secretary spoke to his Chinese counterpart since the Trump administration more than a year earlier.
Austin has repeatedly described China as the “pace challenge” for the Defense Department, saying the Indo-Pacific region is the priority for the United States, even with Russia’s ongoing war in Ukraine.
The already tense relationship between Washington and Beijing boiled over earlier this week when a US congressional delegation visited Taiwan.
Beijing claims full sovereignty over Taiwan, a democracy of nearly 24 million people off the southeast coast of mainland China, despite the fact that both sides have been governed separately for more than seven decades.
Taipei, on the other hand, has countered Chinese aggression by strengthening strategic ties with democracies, including the US, which Beijing has repeatedly resisted. China has threatened that “Taiwan independence” means war.
It should be noted that China also sent 30 fighter jets to the Taiwan Air Defense Identification Zone on Monday, the highest daily number in four months.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by DailyExpertNews staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.)