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US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin
US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin

US Defense Secretary set to meet Chinese counterpart next week

ANI | Updated: Jun 04, 2022 06:07 IST

Washington [US], June 4 (ANI): US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is set to meet his Chinese counterpart for the first time during a trip to Singapore for a defence summit next week, CNN reported citing a senior official.
The date and time for the meeting between Austin and Chinese Minister of National Defense General Wei Fenghe have not been set yet, the defence official said.
Austin is scheduled to speak at the Shangri-La Dialogue on Saturday (June 11).
On April 20, Austin and Wei spoke for about 45 minutes, marking the first time a US Defense Secretary had spoken to his Chinese counterpart since the Trump administration more than a year earlier, CNN reported.
But the Pentagon provided few details of the conversation.

"It was a good first conversation. There was a range of issues discussed. Clearly, security issues in the Indo-Pacific were brought up. I think I'm going to just leave it at that for now," another senior defense official said at the time.
Austin has repeatedly described China as the "pacing challenge" for the Defense Department and said that the Indo-Pacific region is the priority for the United States, even with Russia's ongoing war in Ukraine.
"Indo-Pacific nations have made clear that they seek a region that's rooted in transparency, in freedom of navigation, in peaceful resolution of disputes, in respect for sovereignty and the territorial integrity of sovereign states," said the official.
"At the same time, we have also seen what an assault on these shared principles looks like, from the [People's Republic of China's] harassment in the South China Sea to Russia's brutal invasion of Ukraine, and we're actively working to build a more transparent and inclusive security order for the region," official further said.
The already tense relationship between Washington and Beijing boiled over earlier this week when a US congressional delegation visited Taiwan.
Responding to it, the Chinese embassy in Washington lodged a "stern representation" with the US, according to a statement, urging it to "avoid sending wrong signals to the 'Taiwan independence' separatist forces."
It is to be noted that China on Monday also sent 30 warplanes into Taiwan's air defense identification zone, the highest daily figure in four months. (ANI)