Sunday, June 04, 2023
Chinese Defence Minister Li Shangfu expressed his concerns about a resurgence of a Cold War mentality in the Asia-Pacific region during a security summit in Singapore.
Speaking at Asia's top security summit in Singapore on Saturday, Li indirectly slammed the United States for escalating an arms race and interfering in the internal affairs of other countries. He underscored the need for mutual respect rather than bullying and hegemony.
US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin responded by denouncing China for refusing military talks, resulting in a deadlock between the two superpowers regarding Taiwan and territorial disputes in the South China Sea.
Relations between the US and China are strained due to various issues, including Taiwan, the South China Sea, and restrictions on semiconductor chip exports imposed by President Joe Biden.
Despite shaking hands at dinner, Li and Austin did not engage in a deeper discussion, despite the US's repeated requests for more military exchanges.
Chinese military officers privately said that Beijing wanted clear signs of a less confrontational approach from Washington before resuming military-to-military talks.
Li also cautioned against establishing military alliances similar to NATO in the Asia-Pacific, warning that it would only lead to conflicts and disputes in the region.
The Chinese defence minister highlighted the importance of open and inclusive cooperation, underlining the disastrous consequences of past world wars and the need to prevent history from repeating itself.
"In essence, attempts to push for NATO-like [alliances] in the Asia-Pacific is a way of kidnapping regional countries and exaggerating conflicts and confrontations, which will only plunge the Asia-Pacific into a whirlpool of disputes and conflicts," China's minister noted.
"Today's Asia-Pacific needs open and inclusive cooperation, not buddying up into small cliques. We must not forget the severe disasters brought by the two world wars to peoples of all countries, and we must not allow such tragic history to repeat itself."