The following is a news report from Singapore. On Saturday, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin committed that the United States would not tolerate any acts of “coercion and bullying” towards its allies and partners by China. He also conveyed to Beijing that the United States is dedicated to upholding the current state of affairs regarding Taiwan and would favor communication over confrontation.
During the Shangri-La Dialogue, an annual forum that convenes top defense officials, diplomats, and leaders in Singapore, Austin advocated for backing Washington’s vision of a “free, open, and secure Indo-Pacific The most effective strategy to counter the increasing assertiveness of China in the region is to operate within a framework of rules and rights.
The United States has been increasing its operations in the Indo-Pacific region in response to China’s extensive territorial claims. This includes frequent navigation and aerial maneuvers in the Taiwan Strait and the South China Sea.
During the forum organized by the International Institute for Strategic Studies think tank, the speaker expressed their commitment to guaranteeing that all countries can conduct air, sea, and land operations within the limits of international law. It is imperative that every nation, regardless of its size, retains the freedom to engage in legitimate maritime operations.
During the pandemic’s peak, Austin observed that the United States had furnished millions of doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. Additionally, the country is consistently engaged in regional disaster relief and humanitarian aid initiatives. According to his statement, the system effectively addresses climate change, illegal fishing, and supply chain disruptions, which are significant concerns for the Asia-Pacific region.
The speaker stated they are increasing their focus on existing alliances and partnerships.
According to his statement, the United States is dedicated to preventing North Korea’s missile threat and China’s assertions on Taiwan, a self-governing island democracy that Beijing claims as its territory. He further mentioned that the US had enhanced its defense planning, coordination, and training with allied nations.
The speaker stated that their intention is not to engage in conflict or confrontation. We will remain resolute in the face of bullying or coercion.
As per the statement released by the US 7th Fleet, a guided-missile destroyer from the United States and a frigate from Canada navigated through the Taiwan Strait on Saturday. This area is governed by the principles of international law that uphold the freedom of navigation and overflight on high seas. The move was in line with the remarks made by Austin. At present, there is no prompt communication regarding any reaction from China.
During Defense Minister Gen. Li Shangfu’s delegation in Singapore, a senior member, Chinese Lt. Gen. Jing Jianfeng, accused Austin of making false accusations against China, either overtly or covertly, in his speech.
Jing made a statement to the press following Austin’s speech, in which Jing accused the United States of deceiving and exploiting countries in the Asia-Pacific region to further its interests and maintain its dominant position in the area.
The individual proposed that Washington has retained alliances that are considered “vestiges of the Cold War” while also forming new agreements, such as the AUKUS accord with Britain and Australia and the “Quad” coalition with Australia, India, and Japan, to separate the world into camps driven by ideology and incite conflict.
Jing made a statement without accepting any questions, stating that China is dedicated to the development and prosperity of the region.
Austin reassured China that the United States is strongly dedicated to the established one-China policy. This policy acknowledges Beijing as the legitimate government of China while permitting informal relations with Taiwan. The US also maintains its firm stance against either side’s unilateral alterations to the current state of affairs.
The speaker stated that the invasion of Ukraine by Russia had highlighted the potential dangers of allowing larger nations to invade their neighboring countries without consequences.
According to Austin, conflict is not necessarily imminent or inevitable. The current level of deterrence is robust, and it is our responsibility to maintain it at this level. Preserving peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait is of global significance.
Jing accused the US of weakening the one-China policy by supporting Taiwanese separatists without providing any supporting evidence. Jing also restated Beijing’s position that Taiwan is integral to China’s sovereign territory.
He stated that there is no space for conceding or compromising.
The speaker asserted that the South China Sea islands and the surrounding waters are under the indisputable sovereignty of China.
Li, the current defense minister of China since March, refused Austin’s offer to converse during the conference. However, during the forum’s commencement on Friday, the two exchanged greetings with a handshake before taking their respective seats on opposite ends of the same table.
Austin expressed dissatisfaction with the current amount.
The individual stated that a friendly handshake during a meal is not a good replacement for meaningful interaction.
Li, who assumed the position of defense minister in March, is currently subjected to American sanctions. These sanctions are part of a comprehensive set of measures against Russia enforced in 2018. It is important to note that these sanctions were imposed before Russia invaded Ukraine. Li was subjected to sanctions as a result of his participation in China’s acquisition of combat aircraft and anti-aircraft missiles from Moscow.
According to American defense officials, the sanctions imposed on Li do not restrict him from engaging in official discussions, despite their broad scope prohibiting his business activities in the United States.
It remains uncertain whether Li, who is scheduled to deliver a speech at the forum on Sunday morning, was present in the room during Austin’s remarks. Subsequently, he participated in a ministerial roundtable alongside the American defense secretary and other officials.
Austin restated the request made by the Australian Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese, during his opening speech at the forum. The request was for China to participate in frequent and direct communication to prevent potential conflicts.
Austin stated that responsible defense leaders should be open to discussing matters at any time. Effective communication can occur at any given moment. The optimal moment for communication is present.
According to Jing, lines of communication must be established based on “mutual respect.”
According to the speaker, the United States has been requesting communication while simultaneously working against China’s interests and concerns.
Since 2021, the United States has observed that China has not responded to or declined over a dozen requests from the US Defense Department to engage in discussions with senior leaders. Additionally, China has not responded to multiple requests for standing dialogues and working-level engagements. It is important to note that this occurred before Li was appointed defense minister.