Defense officials from China and the United States have concluded two days of video talks, a small sign of progress amid a sharp deterioration in relations.
The talks on Tuesday and Wednesday were led by Major General Huang Shuibin, direct delegate of the People’s Liberation Army’s Office of International Military Cooperation, and Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Chinese Affairs Michael Chase.
Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman Wu Qian said Thursday that the two sides “exchanged views on relations between the two countries and the armed forces of the two countries and matters of common concern.”
He argued that the “continuous provocation and containment” of China by the United States was the cause of “great difficulties and grievances” between the armed forces of the two countries.
“China’s sovereignty, dignity and core interests do not accept violations,” Wu said at his monthly press conference. With regard to the relationship between the armed forces of the two countries, we are happy to communicate, happy to cooperate, face differences, and oppose coercion.
In a statement issued in Washington, Defense Department spokesman Lt. Col. Martin Meiners said the meeting was an “important component of the Biden-Harris government’s efforts to responsibly manage competition between the United States and the People’s Republic of China by keeping lines of communication open with the People’s Republic of China.”
He added that the parties “had a frank, in-depth and open discussion on a range of issues.”
The two sides confirmed the agreement to keep the lines of communication open. The US side reaffirmed its commitment to support common principles with our allies and partners in the Indo-Pacific region.
Relations between China and the United States over trade, technology, human rights, and military activities in the South China Sea are the most tense in decades. Beijing has built airstrips and other infrastructure work on artificial islands.
Relations between the armed forces have been characterized by deep mistrust. The United States accuses China of lacking transparency by dramatically increasing the resources of the military, the military wing of the ruling Communist Party.
China was angry about the presence of US Navy ships near the islands it controlled and Washington’s support for Taiwan.
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