Singapore [Singapore], June 10 (ANI): In the first face-to-face meeting, the Chinese Defence Minister Wei Fenghe and US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin sparred over the issue of Taiwan on Friday with Washington saying Beijing is trying to change the status quo over the island and Beijing condemning the arms sales to Taipei.
This comes as the 19th Shangri-La Dialogue is being held in Singapore. The dialogue will be held from Friday to Sunday after a two-year suspension due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It will focus mainly on security in the Asia-Pacific region and viable solutions, including the China-proposed Global Security Initiative (GSI).
A US defence official said the actions by the Chinese Army reflect that Beijing may be altering the status quo regarding Taiwan, a democratically controlled island that China claims as its sovereign territory, reported CNN.
“Secretary Austin also raised concerns about … statements by PLA officials that the Taiwan Strait is not international waters. [People’s Republic of China] officials have said that multiple times to the United States over the last several months and that’s deeply concerning,” the official said.
Meanwhile, as per the Chinese media portal Global Times, Wei said that Taiwan island is China’s and the one-China principle is the political basis of China-US ties. China condemns the US’ latest arms sales to the island, Wei added.
During the meeting, Wei told Austin that the Chinese military will not hesitate in crushing any attempt of “Taiwan independence” to defend national unity.
On the other hand, the US said that it is committed to its One China policy and warned that the Chinese military has become increasingly aggressive, unsafe, and unprofessional in the region, a US defense official said after the meeting at the Shangri-La Dialogue.
Upon the recently announced USD 120 million US arms sale to Taiwan, the island’s Defense Ministry said that the new arms sale will cover “spare parts for naval ships and related technical assistance.”
However, the Chinese statement has condemned the arms sale. In a statement, China said, “The US again announced arms sales to Taiwan, which has seriously undermined China’s sovereignty and security interests. China firmly opposes this and strongly condemns it.”
The issue of Taiwan took up the bulk of the meeting between Austin and Wei, the US official said.
The three-day summit will hold seven plenary sessions, two ministerial roundtable meetings and three simultaneous special sessions for delegates from more than 40 countries or regions to exchange views on regional and global security issues.
Senior Defence Ministers from Southeast Asia and the wider Asia region, Europe, North America and the Middle East are also expected to attend and speak at the Dialogue. (ANI)
This report is auto-generated from ANI news service. ThePrint holds no responsibility for its content.