Lloyd Austin downplays China tensions
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin. Image via AP.

Lloyd Austin
The Defense Secretary said the most important thing was that the countries were again talking.

United States Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin told a gathering of top security officials Saturday that war with China was neither imminent nor unavoidable, despite rapidly escalating tensions in the Asia-Pacific region, stressing the importance of renewed dialogue between him and his Chinese counterpart in avoiding “miscalculations and misunderstandings.”

Austin’s comments at the Shangri-La defense forum in Singapore came the day after he met for more than an hour on the sidelines with Chinese Defense Minister Dong Jun, the first in-person meeting between the top defense officials since contacts between the American and Chinese militaries broke down in 2022 after then-U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan, infuriating Beijing.

Neither side budged from their longstanding positions on Taiwan — which China claims as its own and has not ruled out using force to take — and on China’s sweeping claims in the South China Sea, which has led to direct confrontations between China and other nations in the region, most notably the Philippines.

While declining to detail the specifics of their conversation, Austin said the most important thing was that the two were again talking.

“As long as we’re talking, we’re able to identify those issues that are troublesome and that we want to make sure that we have placed guardrails to ensure there are no misperceptions and no miscalculations … that can spiral out of control,” he said.


Republished with permission of the Associated Press.

Associated Press

One comment

  • sundance

    June 13, 2024 at 4:52 pm

    Is it a down play..or a upper hand

Comments are closed.


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