Australian PM says it supports US efforts at dialogue with China

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese supports US President Joe Biden's efforts at establishing dialogue with China at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore on Friday, June 2, 2023. - AP

SINGAPORE, June 2 (Reuters/dpa): Australia supports US President Joe Biden's efforts at establishing dialogue with China, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said on Friday.

He was speaking at the Shangri-La Dialogue, the top defence conference in Asia.

In a new development, US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin shook hands with China's Minister of National Defense Li Shangfu on the sidelines of a security summit in Singapore but the two did not have a "substantive exchange," the Pentagon said on Friday.

In a statement, the Pentagon said the two spoke only briefly.

"The Department believes in maintaining open lines of military-to-military communication with the PRC - and will continue to seek meaningful military-to-military discussions at multiple levels to responsibly manage the relationship," Pentagon spokesman Brigadier General Pat Ryder said.

China earlier declined a formal meeting with Austin during the Shangri-La security summit taking place over the next few days.

In the same event, top European Union diplomat Josep Borrell called for Asia and Europe to cooperate more on security affairs ahead of the Shangri-La Dialogue, a major conference in Singapore.

Borell told dpa that Asian partners and the EU should "jointly defend core security principles whenever and wherever they are threatened" from the Ukraine invasion to tensions in the South China Sea.

"The EU is a reliable security partner and we invest in common security with our Asian partners and this is very necessary in times of geopolitical instability," he said.

The EU foreign policy chief said the bloc has "broken some taboos" in recent moves to cooperate more on defence policy, praising the decisions. - Reuters/dpa

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