China turns down invitation to meet with U.S. defense secretary, Pentagon says

China turns down invitation to meet with U.S. defense secretary, Pentagon says

The U.S. government reported on Monday that. Chinese authorities have rejected the U.S. request. for the two countries’ defense chiefs to meet this week, citing Beijing’s concerns about sanctions imposed by Washington.

The United States had proposed in May that Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin to meet with his Chinese counterpart, Li Shangfu, in Singapore. during the Shangri-La Dialogue, a high-level meeting on Asia-Pacific security. However, China had demanded the lifting of the sanctions imposed on Li in 2018. for the role he played in overseeing a arms purchase from Russia.

The Pentagon has deemed that this decision shows the “troubling unwillingness” to engage military talkswhile stressing that the “Department strongly believes in the importance of keeping open the military-to-military lines of communication in Washington and Beijing To ensure that competition does not spill over into conflict.”

China had argued that Li would not be on equal footing with Austin if sanctions were maintainedwhile the U.S. Department of Defense has asserted that the sanction “does not preclude” the secretary from meeting with his counterpart in the course of conducting official U.S. government business, as reported by the news agency Bloomberg.

Peking and Washington are engaged in an ongoing crisis in their bilateral relationsThe tensions have increased in recent months, especially since the the visit in August of the then Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, to Taiwan. Subsequently, earlier in the year, Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, postponed a trip to China. after a Chinese balloon to cross U.S. airspace.

Chinese spy balloon shot down over the Atlantic by the United States on February 4, 2023.

Kayleigh Williams