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US Defense Secretary Urges Dialogue with China Cites No War

Photo : AP

United States Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin addressed top security officials at the Shangri-La defense forum in Singapore on Saturday, emphasizing that a war with China was neither imminent nor inevitable. His comments came amidst escalating tensions in the Asia-Pacific region, stressing the necessity of renewed dialogue between the United States and China to avoid misunderstandings and miscalculations.

Austin's remarks followed his meeting with Chinese Defense Minister Dong Jun, marking the first in-person meeting between the top defense officials since contacts between the American and Chinese militaries ceased in 2022. The meeting aimed to reestablish communication channels between the two countries amid heightened geopolitical tensions.

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Meanwhile, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taiwan further aggravated tensions with Beijing. The visit underscored the longstanding disagreement between China and the United States over Taiwan's status, with China asserting sovereignty over the island while Taiwan maintains its autonomy.

During his speech, Austin highlighted the importance of dialogue in mitigating potential conflicts and fostering mutual understanding between nations. He emphasized the need for continuous communication to prevent misperceptions and misjudgments that could escalate into conflicts.

The defense forum also addressed concerns about China's assertive actions in the South China Sea, including confrontations with neighboring countries' vessels and aircraft. Several nations, including the Philippines and Australia, expressed apprehension over China's expanding military presence in the region and its impact on regional security and stability.

Despite these tensions, Austin reiterated the United States' commitment to its allies in the Asia-Pacific region and its support for their sovereign rights. He emphasized the importance of upholding freedom of navigation and ensuring that nations have access to their exclusive economic zones.

While acknowledging the complexity of geopolitical dynamics in the region, Austin underscored the necessity of continued dialogue and cooperation between nations. He emphasized the importance of supporting allies and partners while working to reduce the risk of conflicts through diplomatic channels.

In conclusion, Austin emphasized that while challenges exist, war with China is neither imminent nor unavoidable. He called on leaders of great power nations to collaborate in reducing opportunities for misunderstandings and conflicts, highlighting the importance of ongoing dialogue and support for mutual interests and stability in the region.

June 1, 2024 1:23 p.m. 373

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