U.S. and Chinese protection chiefs maintain first assembly since 2022 | EUROtoday

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SINGAPORE — U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin and Chinese protection minister Dong Jun met on Friday, their first face-to-face assembly, as Washington and Beijing search to stabilize navy relations and avert a disaster in Asia.

The United States has been pushing China to work collectively to stop miscommunication and to reestablish navy hotlines to stop an accident spiraling into disaster. This is especially essential within the South China Sea, the place Beijing is engaged in standoffs with American allies just like the Philippines, and amid escalating Chinese navy exercise round Taiwan, the island democracy Beijing claims as its territory.

The pair met on the sidelines of the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, a regional safety summit, the primary time such a gathering has taken place since Austin met his Chinese counterpart in 2022.

Since then, Beijing has twice changed its protection minister, and in addition lower off high-level military-to-military dialogue for 15 months in protest over a go to to Taiwan by then House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.


Summarized tales to shortly keep knowledgeable

Beijing solely agreed to reopen these communication channels in November when President Biden met Chinese chief Xi Jinping in California. Dong and Austin spoke by telephone final month.

Dong, a 62-year-old former head of the Chinese navy, was appointed in December, changing Li Shangfu 4 months after Li abruptly disappeared from public view.

The reshuffle is a part of broader marketing campaign by Chinese chief Xi Jinping seeks to root out corruption and streamline the command construction to show the People’s Liberation Army right into a “world-class” preventing pressure capable of go toe-to-toe with the United States.

As protection minister, Dong’s position is primarily about navy diplomacy. Operations and technique are set by Xi and senior members of the Chinese Communist Party’s Central Military Commission. Dong, not like his predecessor, is just not even a member of the fee.

Navigating China’s rise and its elevated frustration on the American presence in areas Beijing considers its yard — together with the South China Sea — has turn into a high precedence for international locations in Southeast and East Asia, particularly amongst these international locations that wish to strengthen commerce and financial ties with China whereas counting on the United States for protection.

China’s “economic, diplomatic and security coercion has been uneasily felt” by its neighbors, mentioned the International Institute for Strategic Studies, the London-based assume tank that organizes the Shangri-La Dialogue, in its annual evaluation of regional safety priorities launched on Friday.

“Managing the anxiety over China’s coercion while being bullish over its economic prospects is now a constant preoccupation for many policymakers” within the area, the report mentioned.

While Beijing’s aggression has created rising push again from the Philippines and different claimants within the South China Sea, it has succeeded in deepening its financial and safety relationship with international locations like Cambodia.

U.S. officers say China has secretly constructed a brand new naval base in northern Cambodia, although each international locations deny it. “China never says no to us,” mentioned a Cambodian safety analyst primarily based in Phnom Penh who spoke on the situation of anonymity. “Ninety percent of what we ask for, they give.”

China has invested billions of {dollars} in Cambodia to improve navy amenities and construct new infrastructure, although it’s not clear, mentioned the analyst, what they need in return. “They want something. But what is it they want? It’s a fair question. We don’t know,” he mentioned.