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All eyes on US and China during Asian Security Summit

All eyes on US and China during Asian Security Summit

International•May 31 ’24 at 10:11Author of the book: Daphne Stolvik

US and Chinese defense ministers will meet today for the first time in a year and a half during the Shangri-La Dialogue, the annual Asian security conference. Friso Dupbelbor, a political scientist at the Leiden Asia Centre, considers the situation in the South China Sea ‘worrisome’. Both superpowers seek to avoid conflict, but differ greatly in their approach.

All eyes on US and China during Asian Security Summit

when Security Conference In Singapore, high-ranking political and military figures talk to each other. US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and his Chinese counterpart Dong Jun will also be involved in the talks. The conference continues till Sunday.

Magnifying glass

The meeting has been put under a magnifying glass as it is the first time the two ministers are meeting each other again in a year and a half. China cut ties after Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan. There are many topics on the table. ‘We regularly see conflicts in the South China Sea, and it has been tense around Taiwan, most recently around the inauguration of a new president.’ But since 2022, there has been zero communication between the US and Chinese militaries. America in particular is pushing for this reorganization.

Also Read | Military activity escalates in South China Sea

‘The Chinese don’t want to do that much at the moment. “Expectations for the talks at Shanri-La are not very high,” says Dupbelboer. Both sides will dig in their heels. The Americans, who believe the Americans should not be in the South China Sea at all in order to improve that communication, and that communication is unnecessary. ‘The positions are nautical miles apart.’

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However, both sides prefer to avoid conflict.

‘Positions are nautical miles apart’

Friseau Dubelboer, Political Scientist

It’s a ‘worrying’ situation, Dupbelbohr outlines. And not just because of tensions around Taiwan and the South China Sea. The Japanese have announced that they will invest heavily in the military, and China is training with several countries, including Cambodia. “The good thing is that all the big guys are in Singapore now.”

Also Read | China aims to take over Taiwan: ‘Major conflict will ensue’

US and Chinese defense ministers meet today for the first time in a year and a half, during the Shangri-La Dialogue at the annual Asian Security Summit. EPA/How How Young (ANP/EPA)