U.S. and allies trade barbs with China, but Ukraine dominates Asia security meet -Breaking
Kanupriya and Chen Lin
SINGAPORE, (Reuters) – The United States and its allies exchanged barbs with China during Asia’s top security meeting. But the conflict in Ukraine and a distant speech from President Volodymyr Zilenskiy dominated proceedings.
Lloyd Austin, U.S. Defence Secretary, told the Shangri-La Dialogue that Washington was committed to managing tensions with China. He also stated that Washington is ready to help prevent conflicts, even though Beijing’s aggression in the area.
Zelenskiy spoke via videolink from an undisclosed place in Kyiv’s capital and told the delegate that it was vital for their countries to support the Russian invasion. He also stressed the need to maintain the rules-based order.
He stated, “It is in Ukraine’s battlefields that the future world rules are being decided together with the limits of what is possible.”
He observed that Russia was blocking ports in both the Black Sea Sea and Azov Sea, which is keeping Ukrainian food exports off the international market.
He stated that if Russia blocks our food exports, we will be facing an acute and serious food crisis in the Middle East and Africa.
The United States and China, who have been at odds in recent months about everything, from Taiwan’s human rights record and its military activities in the South China Sea to Taiwan, are again at odds.
Austin and Wei Fenghe (Chinese Defence Minister) met on Friday. While they reiterated that they wanted to manage their relationship better, there were no indications of progress towards resolving disagreements.
Austin stated that the United States will continue to support its allies including Taiwan.
“That’s particularly important, as the People’s Republic of China (PRC) takes a more aggressive and coercive approach towards its territorial claims,” he stated.
China asserts Taiwan is its self-rule and vows to take forceful measures if needed.
Austin claimed that the “alarming increase” in unsafe and unprofessional encounters involving Chinese vessels and planes with other nations has led to an “alarming”.
Australia claimed that a Chinese fighter jet dangerously intercepted one its military surveillance airplanes in South China Sea in May. Canada accuses Chinese warplanes, claiming they harass its patrol planes as they observe North Korea’s sanction evasions.
Taiwan complained about repeated Chinese airforce missions in its air defense identification zone for many years. Austin stated that these incursions have increased recently.
Lieutenant General Zhang Zhenzhong of the Chinese Military Command called Austin’s speech a confrontation.
China was the subject of many unfounded allegations. “We expressed our deep dissatisfaction with these false allegations,” Zhang, Vice Chief of the Joint Staff Department of China’s Central Military Commission told reporters.
The United States wants to create a small group in the Asia Pacific region, by inviting some countries to provoke against other countries. This should be called “confrontation.”
Washington stated earlier this year that China seemed poised to support Russia’s war against Ukraine.
But since then, U.S. officials have said while they remain wary about China’s longstanding support for Russia in general, the military and economic support that they worried about has not come to pass, at least for now.
Ng Eng Hen was the defense minister for host Singapore. He said the ties between Russia and China were discussed on Saturday at a closed door meeting. He also stated that many delegates have asked Beijing to be more disciplined with Moscow.
Japan’s defence minister, who is one of Washington’s most close allies in Asia told the meeting that Russia and China had increased security concerns in the area.
Nobuo Kishi stated at the Singapore meeting that “joint military operations among these two powerful military powers will undoubtedly raise concern among other countries.”
Anita Anand (Canadian Defence Minister) also addressed China.
Anand said in an interview that Chinese interceptions of (our) aircraft are concerning and unethical and that we must ensure the safety of our pilots, even if they are monitoring the U.N.-sanctioned missions.
New Zealand expressed concern over Chinese efforts to influence the Pacific Islands.
Richard Marles, Australian Defence Minister, stated that it is reasonable to assume China would not endorse the invading of sovereign countries violating the U.N Charter.
At the meeting, he stated: “China hasn’t done so should be cause for concern. Especially given the investment it makes in its military power.”