“The PRC has informed the United States that they rejected our invitation in early May to meet Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin this week in Singapore with PRC National Defense Minister Li Shangfu,” Pentagon spokesman Brigadier General Patrick Ryder told AA. used the phrase.
Ryder continued the statement that the US Department of Defense “strongly believes” in the importance of maintaining the lines of communication between Washington and Beijing “to ensure that competition does not degenerate into conflict”.
The Pentagon Spokesperson noted that the PRC’s reluctance to engage in meaningful inter-military discussions will not lessen the US Department of Defense’s commitment to seek open lines of communication at multiple levels with the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) as part of managing relations responsibly.
Ryder said that the sanction of General Li under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) would not prevent him from meeting with Secretary Austin.
On the other hand, a senior US defense official told AA that it is not the first time that the PRC has refused communication invitations from the US Secretary of Defense, the Chief of General Staff or other officials of the Ministry.
“Obviously, this is the latest in a series of excuses. Since 2021, the PRC has refused or has not responded to more than a dozen requests from the (US) Ministry of Defense for key leadership engagements, multiple requests for permanent dialogue, and about 10 working-level engagements,” the official said. made statements.