U.S. and Chinese Defence Ministers Meet Again This Year

Chinese and U.S. defence ministers met Tuesday for their second face-to-face meetings this year, a U.S. official said.

The meeting was not anticipated to yield big breakthroughs but might touch on crisis communication and their different views on Taiwan.

First Meeting Between Defence

This is the first meeting between U.S. Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin and Chinese Defence Minister General Wei Fenghe since Nancy Pelosi’s travel to Taiwan in August infuriated China, which considers the island its own.

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The meeting takes place in Siem Reap, Cambodia, during an ASEAN defence ministers’ summit. The meeting began at 10 a.m. local time (0300 GMT), according to a US official.

Tuesday’s meeting follows a three-hour discussion between U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping met last week at the G20 conference in Indonesia.

Despite tensions between the U.S. and China, U.S. military leaders have worked to keep open lines of contact with their Chinese counterparts.

Looking Forward

After their June encounter, Austin stated that his chats with Wei were a start toward improving communication.

China and the U.S. have poor relations over Taiwan, China’s human rights record, and its military operations in the South China Sea.

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China interpreted Pelosi’s Taiwan trip as a U.S. effort to intervene in its domestic affairs. China conducted military manoeuvres near the island.

The US has no official diplomatic ties with Taiwan but must assist it with defence.

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