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US defense chief speaks to his Chinese counterpart, Pentagon says



US defense chief speaks to his Chinese counterpart, Pentagon says

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin talked to The Chinese Defense Minister had the first battle between the two on Tuesday more than one This year the two countries are trying to restore military ties.

The call comes as US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping have tried to keep tensions under control; the two leaders resumed direct military talks last year.

In a readout after the call, the Pentagon said Mr. Austin “underscored the importance of respect for the freedom of navigation on the high seas guaranteed by international law, especially in the South China Sea.”

An escalating diplomatic dispute and recent maritime clashes between China and the Philippines, a US ally, have made the highly strategic South China Sea a potential flashpoint between Washington and Beijing.

China and the US should explore ways to “get along” and “gradually build mutual trust” by building a “non-conflict, non-confrontation”, pragmatic and cooperative relationship between their militaries, it quoted Chinese Defense Ministry minister during the meeting. phone call.

Minister Dong Jun said the US should recognize China’s position in the South China Sea and respect China’s territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests there.

He also emphasized that the Taiwan issue is “the core of China’s core interests.”

The Pentagon said the two also discussed Russia’s war in Ukraine, North Korea and Washington’s involvement in the war so-called one China policy.

Austin last spoke to his Chinese counterpart in 2022, when he met then-Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe on the sidelines of a meeting of Southeast Asian countries in Cambodia.

Before the November meeting between Mr Biden and Mr Xi, relations between the superpowers had grown increasingly bitter, with friction over issues from Taiwan to China’s military activity in the South China Sea.

In October, the US military said Chinese military aircraft had made risky or reckless maneuvers nearby American aircraft almost 200 times since 2021.

Since then, the United States has highest military general has spoken to his Chinese counterpart.

This month, U.S. military officials met with their Chinese counterparts for meetings in Hawaii focused on how the two countries can do this operate safely.

U.S. military officials have long tried to maintain open lines of communication with their Chinese counterparts to limit the risk of potential flare-ups or resolve any mishaps.

“Secretary Austin emphasized the importance of continuing to open military-to-military lines of communication between the United States and the People’s Republic of China,” the Pentagon said, using an acronym for the People’s Republic of China. – Reuters