The Secretary of Defense of the Lloyd Austin, stated in Singapore that he is “open to further discussions with “, after meeting the day before with his Chinese counterpart, Dong Jun, in the city-state with the aim of reducing tensions between both countries.

“As leading powers it is important to work together to avoid and reduce miscalculations and misunderstandings. Not all conversations are going to be easy, but we have to talk”said Austin during his participation in the Shangri-La Dialogue security forum.

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“The key is that we are talking and while we talk we can identify the problems (…) we can only do that while you dialogue and keep the communication channels open”stressed the US representative.

China and Washington maintain differences regarding the autonomy and status of Taiwanwhich the Chinese Government considers a rebellious province that it does not rule out invading, and freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, which the Chinese authorities claim almost completely, among other issues.

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The defense chiefs of the United States and China held their first military meeting at that level between the powers in a year and a half on Friday, which reinforces the bilateral dialogue despite the accusations they exchanged about Taiwan, Loop and Ukraine.

Austin and Dong discussed these and other issues for around 75 minutes, longer than expected, before the start of the aforementioned defense forum, the most important in Asia, and where the Chinese official plans to take the stand on Sunday.

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With a conciliatory tone, the Secretary of Defense remarked on several occasions during his turn today that dialogue between countries “there is no substitute” when it comes to calming tensions and that if his Chinese counterpart calls him “will always answer the phone”.

Although, in veiled statements without citing the Asian giant, Austin also attacked countries “stalkers” in the South China Sea, where Chinese ships have fired water cannons at Philippine vessels, and nations attempting “impose his will”making evident the notable differences between both world powers.

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The US official also highlighted the alliances forged in the last three years by the North American nation, which many analysts observe as a counterweight to Beijing’s growing influence in the strategic Indo-Pacific region.

“America is safe if Asia is safe. And that is why we are here (…) The United States is a Pacific nation and is very committed to the region”Austin said.

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Since 2021, the United States has led the AUKUS alliance, together with Australia and the United Kingdom, and the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QUAD), together with India, Japan and Australia, while it has strengthened its military relationship with other “like-minded” partners such as the Philippines , South Korea or Papua New Guinea.