US Defense Secretary holds talks with Chinese counterpart, first since 2022

HORNBILLTV
April 17,2024 06:19 PM
HORNBILL TV

Highlights

United States Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and his Chinese counterpart Dong Jun held talks in nearly 18 months and discussed US-China defense relations and regional and global security issues.

Washington [US], April 17 (HBTV): United States Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and his Chinese counterpart Dong Jun held talks in nearly 18 months and discussed US-China defense relations and regional and global security issues, the Pentagon said.  

In the meeting held via videoconference on Tuesday, Austin stressed the importance of keeping military-to-military communication lines between the US and China open, it said.  

It is the first time since November 2022 that Austin has held talks with his Chinese counterpart when he spoke with the then defense minister of China Wei Fenghe in Cambodia. Dong was appointed China's Defense minister in December. China then named General Li Shangfu as its defense minister.   

In 2018, the US sanctioned Li under the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) when he headed the Equipment Development Department of the Chinese military. The sanctions were related to China's purchase of ten SU-35 combat aircrafts in 2017 and S-400 surface-to-air missile system-related equipment in 2018, according to the State Department, according to a Voice of America report.     

Austin and Dong on Tuesday discussed the situations in the South China Sea and around the Taiwan Strait, as well as Russia-Ukraine conflict and North Korea's weapons development program, according to the Pentagon.     

Austin "underscored the importance of respect for high seas freedom of navigation guaranteed under international law -- especially in the South China Sea -- and reiterated that the United States will continue to fly, sail, and operate safely and responsibly, wherever international law allows," Pentagon Press Secretary Air Force Maj Gen Pat Ryder said during a briefing.    

The US secretary reiterated that the US remains committed to its One China Policy, which is guided by the Three Joint Communiques, the Taiwan Relations Act and the Six Assurances.     

The video teleconference took place following an agreement between President Joe Biden and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping the previous year in November near San Francisco to reopen direct military-to-military talks at several levels. 

(ANI) This is a syndicated news feed. HBTV has edited it for clarity.