Military News: China and US Defense Chiefs Engage in First Substantive Talks in Almost 18 Months

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Lloyd Austin and Dong Jun engage in a comprehensive discussion covering a wide array of topics including the South China Sea, Taiwan, North Korea, and Ukraine. This marked their first substantial conversation in nearly 18 months, with the goal of reestablishing military relations between the United States and China.

During their videoconference on Tuesday, Austin highlighted the importance of upholding the freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, as guaranteed by international law. Recent tensions in the region, particularly between China and the Philippines, have raised concerns about potential conflicts in the area, which is claimed by multiple countries.

Dong reiterated China’s stance on territorial sovereignty and maritime rights in the South China Sea, emphasizing the need for the US to respect these positions. He also warned against any interference in Taiwan, which Beijing considers a core interest.

The discussion also touched on previous interactions between US and Chinese military officials, with a focus on improving relations and building mutual trust. Both sides agreed on the importance of maintaining open lines of communication to prevent potential misunderstandings or crises.

In addition, Austin and Dong addressed global issues such as Russia’s war in Ukraine and the situation in North Korea. The talks aimed to find ways for the US and China to work together and avoid conflicts, paving the way for a more stable and cooperative relationship between their militaries.

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