China refused Washington's proposal for the defense ministers of the two countries to meet at a Singapore security forum during the upcoming weekend, according to a report published by the Wall Street Journal on Monday, APA reports.
The meeting between Pentagon chief Lloyd Austina and Chinese Defense Minister Li Shangfu was supposed to take place on the sidelines of the annual Shangri-La Dialogue forum. "The [US Defense] 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," the paper cited the Pentagon's statement.
Commenting on China's unexpected answer, the Pentagon said that Beijing's decision to refuse this high-level meeting is "concerning." The move comes following the last week's meeting of the two countries' commerce ministers.