Defense officials from China and the US held talks for two days in a small sign of progress amid an ongoing sharp downturn in relations.
The secure video conference held Tuesday and Wednesday was led by Major General Huang Xueping, deputy director of the People’s Liberation Army’s Office for International Military Cooperation, and US Deputy Secretary of Defense for China, Michael Chase.
Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman Wu Qian said on Thursday that the sides exchanged in-depth views on relations between the two countries and the two militaries and on issues of common concern.
However, he blamed the continued provocation and containment of China by the US for the significant difficulties and challenges between the two armies.
China’s sovereignty, dignity and core interests will not tolerate violations,” Wu said at a monthly briefing.
In terms of the relationship between the two armed forces, we welcome communication, we welcome cooperation, we face differences and we are against coercion.”
In a statement in Washington, Defense Department spokesman Lt. Col. Martin Meiners said the meeting was an important part of the Biden-Harris administration’s ongoing efforts to responsibly fight competition between the US and the PRC. through open lines of communication with the People’s Republic of China.”
During the talks, he said the two sides had a frank, in-depth and open discussion on a range of issues.
Both sides reaffirmed a consensus to keep communication channels open. The US also made clear that we are committed to upholding shared principles with our allies and partners in the Indo-Pacific region,” he said.
Relations between China and the US are under the most strain in decades due to trade, technology, human rights and Chinese military activities in the South China Sea, where Beijing has built airstrips and other infrastructure on artificial islands.
Military-military ties have been marked by deep mistrust, with the US accusing China of a lack of transparency as it massively upgrades the capabilities of the PLA, the military wing of the ruling Communist Party.
China is outraged that the navy has sent ships to sail close to islands it controls in what Washington calls freedom of navigation operations, along with US support to Taiwan.
President Joe Biden maintained a hard line on China but has sought better communication with Beijing. The talks between Huang and Chase would be the first direct high-level contact between defense officials under the Biden administration.
(Only the headline and image of this report may have been reworked by Business Standard staff; the rest of the content was automatically generated from a syndicated feed.)