US, Chinese defense chiefs hold 1st talks since 2022

<p><em>(Photo from Anadolu) </em></p>

(Photo from Anadolu) 

WASHINGTON – US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin spoke via video teleconference on Tuesday with his Chinese counterpart Dong Jun in their first engagement in more than a year, the Pentagon said.

They discussed bilateral relations as well as regional and global security issues, Pentagon Press Secretary Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder told reporters.

"During the discussion, Secretary Austin emphasized the importance of continuing to open lines of military-to-military communication between the U.S. and the People's Republic of China. He also underscored the importance of respect for high seas freedom of navigation guaranteed under international law, especially in the South China Sea, and reiterated that the United States will continue to fly, sail and operate safely and responsibly wherever international law allows," Ryder added.

Austin reiterated that the US remains committed to its One China Policy, which is guided by the Three Joint Communiques, the Taiwan Relations Act, and the Six Assurances, he said.

He also discussed the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war as well as concerns about North Korea, Ryder added.

It was the first time that Austin had a substantive exchange with his Chinese counterpart since November 2022.

Last November, US President Joe Biden and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping met in San Francisco for a bilateral summit which paved the way for resuming military-to-military communications and "clear and open" communication between their countries’ defense establishments to avoid miscalculations by either side and preventing a conflict. (Anadolu)