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U.S. and China lock horns at Asia's top security forum

By Ishaan Tharoor

04 Jun 2023 · 4 min read

informed Summary

  1. U.S. and China defense officials are locked in a standoff at the Shangri-La Dialogue conference, The Posts reports.

SINGAPORE - At a major conference billed as a "dialogue," the top defense officials of the United States and China found themselves locked in a standoff. Flashpoints had flared across the region: In the skies above the South China Sea just days earlier, a Chinese fighter jet performed what U.S. officials described as "an unnecessarily aggressive maneuver" when intercepting a U.S. aircraft. Over the weekend, as Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin urged his Chinese counterparts to open channels of communication with the United States, a Chinese ship nearly collided with a U.S. destroyer transiting through the Taiwan Strait.

There was no bilateral meeting between Austin and Chinese Defense Minister Gen. Li Shangfu, even though they spent the weekend under the same ritzy roof. They shared an awkward handshake at dinner Friday night, an exchange that Austin would later say was no "substitute" for more meaningful engagement. The two were the star guests among the hundreds of dignitaries from 54 countries gathered at the Shangri-La Dialogue, an annual summit organized for the past two decades by the International Institute of Strategic Studies, a British think tank, with support from the Singaporean government. (This was the first time in attendance for The Washington Post newsletter Today's WorldView.)

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