China, U.S. defense chiefs hold talks at Asia security summit
Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe and acting U.S. Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan held talks on Friday at an Asia security summit in Singapore, a meeting the Pentagon said was “constructive and productive,” amid heightened tensions between the two countries over trade and security, ONAreports citing Reuters.
The meeting comes even as Shanahan told reporters on Friday that Chinese militarization of the South China was “excessive” and that he would be calling out such Chinese actions in a speech on Saturday. The United States and China, locked in an escalating trade war, are also at odds over a series of strategic issues, from the disputed South China Sea to democratic Taiwan, claimed by China as its sacred territory, to be taken by force if needed.
Lieutenant Colonel Joe Buccino, a Pentagon spokesman, said Shanahan found their 20-minute meeting to be “constructive and productive”. “The two leaders discussed ways to build military-to-military relations that reduce the risk of misunderstanding and miscalculation between our nations,” Buccino said.
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