Military officials from the US and China held two days of talks amid heightened tensions between the two powers.
The talks were held on Tuesday and Wednesday and were led by US Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for China Michael Chase and Maj. Gen. Huang Xueping, the deputy director of China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Office for International Military Cooperation.
Chinese Defense Ministry spokesperson Wu Qian said Beijing welcomed the discussions but also called out Washington for its military provocations. Over the past few years, the US has significantly increased its military activity near China’s coast and frequently sails warships into sensitive areas like the South China Sea and the Taiwan Strait.
Wu said there are “considerable difficulties and challenges” between the two militaries due to the “continuous provocation and containment” of China by the US. “Regarding the relationship between the two armed forces, we welcome communication, welcome cooperation, face differences, and oppose coercion,” he said.
The Pentagon said in a readout that the meetings were part of the Biden administration’s “effort to responsibly manage the competition between” the US and China by “open lines of communication.” The Pentagon said the two sides held “frank, in-depth, and open discussion.”
The meetings came after the US signed a new military pact with the UK and Australia to counter China. Under the deal, Australia will get nuclear submarines, which will likely be used to patrol waters near China. The British are also stepping up their military activity in the region and made a rare warship passage through the Taiwan Strait on Monday.