US, Chinese defence chiefs hold first talks since 2022

Lloyd Austin and Dong Jun discuss bilateral ties, regional and global security issues, says Pentagon spokesman

Anadolu Agency April 17, 2024
United States Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin. PHOTO: ANADOLU AGENCY


US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin spoke via video teleconference Tuesday with his Chinese counterpart Dong Jun in their first engagement in more than a year, the Pentagon said.

They discussed bilateral relations as well as regional and global security issues, Pentagon press secretary Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder told reporters.

"During the discussion, Secretary Austin emphasized the importance of continuing to open lines of military-to-military communication between the US and the People's Republic of China.

"He also underscored the importance of respect for high seas freedom of navigation guaranteed under international law, especially in the South China Sea, and reiterated that the United States will continue to fly, sail and operate safely and responsibly wherever international law allows," Ryder added.

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Austin reiterated that the US remains committed to its One China Policy, which is guided by the Three Joint Communiques, the Taiwan Relations Act and the Six Assurances, he said.

Austin also discussed the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war as well as concerns about North Korea, Ryder added.

It was the first time that Austin had a substantive exchange with his Chinese counterpart since November 2022.

Last November, US President Joe Biden and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping met in San Francisco for a bilateral summit which paved the way for resuming military-to-military communications and "clear and open" communication between their countries’ defence establishments to avoid miscalculations by either side and preventing a conflict.


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