United States and China defense ministers are set to meet in Singapore on Friday as the Shangri-La Dialogue security summit gets underway, Chinese state media said.
The talks between Wei Fenghe and Lloyd Austin will be “the first meeting between the Chinese and US defense ministers since Austin took office,” state broadcaster CCTV reported.
The Shangri-La Dialogue, a forum for the world’s top military officials, diplomats and arms companies, will be held June 10-12 in the Southeast Asian city-state.
It will be the first time the event has been held since 2019, having been postponed twice due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
In recent years, China and the US have made headlines over Beijing’s claims to almost the entire South China Sea and over the saber clattering over Taiwan.
The ruling Communist Party claims democratic, self-governed Taiwan as part of its territory and has vowed to one day take it, by force if necessary.
More recently, the two sides disagreed over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, with Washington accusing Beijing of tacit support for Moscow.
China has called for talks to end the war but does not condemn Russia’s actions and has repeatedly criticized US arms donations to Ukraine.
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