US, China defence ministers meet in latest bid to ease strains

Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin met with his Chinese counterpart Wei Fenghe in Cambodia, on Nov 22, 2022. - Reuters

SIEM REAP, Cambodia (Bloomberg): US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin began talks with Chinese Defence Minister Wei Fenghe on Tuesday (Nov 22) as the two countries tentatively resume contacts that were severed after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan in August.

Austin and Wei are meeting on the sidelines of an Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ defence ministers gathering in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

The meeting is latest effort to put the US-China relationship on a more stable footing following the first in-person talks between Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Joe Biden last week in Indonesia.

While the two sides have not resolved deep differences over Taiwan, human rights, US restrictions on tech exports or other issues, they have sought to at least restore rudimentary links that would keep accidents or disagreements from spinning out of control.

The US has watched with growing concern as China has built up its military into one of the world’s most powerful fighting forces. Last week, the US publicly acknowledged for the first time that China has fielded new, longer-range ballistic missiles on its six nuclear-powered submarines, allowing it to strike the continental US from much closer to its own shores.

Biden officials have repeatedly called for "guardrails” to prevent tensions between the world’s two largest economies from getting out of hand. In his encounter Saturday with Vice President Kamala Harris in Bangkok, Xi emphasised his view that more communication is needed.

Austin arrived in Cambodia on Monday for the Asean defence ministers’ gathering. Wei and Austin last spoke in June in Singapore, when the bulk of the conversation focused on Taiwan. Wei condemned American moves to sell arms to the democratically-run island.

With tensions high, US officials have warned that China has become more aggressive with "dangerous intercepts” against American military aircraft and ships, as well as those of Japan, Canada and Australia in the South China Sea region.

Article type: free
User access status:
Subscribe now to our Premium Plan for an ad-free and unlimited reading experience!

Cambodia , Llyod Austin , China , Wei Fenghe


Next In Aseanplus News

Lao Brewery Company launches non-alcoholic beverages in Vientiane
Brunei retains 12th spot in Islamic Finance Development world rankings
Holiday trips within China surge in big numbers after lifting of Covid-19 curbs
Vietnam will always remain a good business partner of Hong Kong, says top official
Tennis-Djokovic battles Tsitsipas in high stakes Australian Open final
Hypocritical to complain about learning from Singapore, says Nga
Cambodia ready to prove they will be a great host when the 32nd SEA Games begins in Phnom Penh
Rising problems as Laos logs 238 dengue cases already this year
Brunei's popular public service app - QueUp - goes offline following data breach
Philippines' GDP growth leads Asean region at 7.6 per cent in 2022

Others Also Read