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Blinken says 'regrettable' that US, Chinese defence chiefs did not meet

Tan KW
Publish date: Thu, 01 Jun 2023, 12:39 AM
Tan KW
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LULEA, Sweden It is "regrettable" that a possible meeting between US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Chinese defence minister Li Shangfu will not go ahead, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Wednesday.

Blinken, speaking at a news conference in Sweden, repeated the importance of regular and open lines of communication with Beijing.

"The most dangerous thing is not to communicate," he added.

China has declined a request from the United States for a meeting between their defence chiefs at an annual security forum in Singapore this weekend, media reported on Monday, a new sign of strain between the powers.

The Pentagon on Tuesday said a Chinese fighter jet carried out an "unnecessarily aggressive" manoeuvre near a US military plane over the South China Sea in international airspace, further adding to the already tense relations.

"Chinese pilot took dangerous action in approaching the plane very, very closely," Blinken said, adding that there have been a series of such actions directed not only to the United States but to other countries as well.

Relations between China and the United States have been tense, with friction between the world's two largest economies over everything from Taiwan and China's human rights record to its military activity in the South China Sea.


  - Reuters


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