Gun Rattling Over Taiwan: US and China Clash in Heated Singapore Meeting

Written by Camilla Jessen

May.31 - 2024 1:24 PM CET

Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
The US Defense Secretary and the Chinese Defense Minister Dong Jun exchanged sharp remarks in Singapore.

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US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and his Chinese counterpart, Dong Jun, exchanged sharp remarks at a meeting in Singapore concerning escalating tensions in the Taiwan Strait, reports the news outlet Nikkei.

According to the Pentagon, Austin expressed concerns to Dong about the "provocative activities" of the People's Liberation Army of China around Taiwan.

Last week, China conducted large-scale military exercises around Taiwan and its outlying islands, which were seen as a response to the inaugural speech of Taiwan's new president, Lai Chinte.

Austin noted that Beijing "should not use Taiwan's political transition period—a normal part of the democratic process—as an excuse to implement coercive measures."

In response, Dong warned the US against interfering in China's policy towards Taiwan.

The ministerial talks lasted about 75 minutes, longer than expected. Following the meeting, a spokesman for China's Defense Ministry stated that Washington's approach to Taiwan was sending the "wrong signal" to "separatist forces" in Taipei.

Military Escalation

As reported by Ukrinform, China has increased its military presence around Taiwan, deploying 38 warplanes, 7 navy ships, and 4 coast guard vessels to patrol the area.

Beijing claims that its military activities around Taiwan are directed at the island's authorities and not its people, urging "compatriots in Taiwan" to unite with mainlanders for national reunification.

Last November, Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Joe Biden agreed to work on restoring bilateral military communication channels.

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