The United States Department of Defense was snubbed by Chinese officials who declined to attend a meeting ahead of the annual security forum in Singapore.
"Officials from the United States proposed that [Defense Secretary Lloyd] Austin and Chinese Defense Minister Li Shangfu meet at the sidelines of the Singapore event amid frayed tensions between the two superpowers," reports the Washington Examiner. "Li is subject to U.S. sanctions, but Pentagon officials stress that doesn't prevent him from meeting with Austin."
"The Department believes strongly in the importance of maintaining open lines of military-to-military communication between Washington and Beijing to ensure that competition does not veer into conflict," Pentagon press secretary Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said.
China let the United States know that it would not attend the meeting during the night, per the Pentagon.
"This is far from the first time that the PRC has rejected invitations to communicate from the Secretary, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, or other Department officials. Frankly, it’s just the latest in a litany of excuses. Since 2021, the PRC has declined or failed to respond to over a dozen requests," a senior defense official said.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken postponed a trip to China after the Chinese spy balloon floated across U.S. airspace.
The military took action, shooting down that balloon over the Carolina coast, but only after it had traversed across the United States airspace collecting data.
Blinken's meeting has not been rescheduled.
"Tensions have been particularly strained by the military buildup in the South China Sea as well as the status of Taiwan, a self-governing island over which China claims sovereignty," reported the Examiner.
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