At the Shangri-La security summit in Asia, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin spoke out against China’s aggressive actions towards its neighboring countries. He warned that a potential war with Taiwan would be “devastating” and criticized China for “bullying” US allies.
Chinese military leader, General Wei Fenghe, also attended the summit and shook hands with Austin, but tensions remained high between the two nations. China’s snub of Austin during the summit highlighted the escalation risk between the two superpowers.
The US is striving to demonstrate its commitment to the Asia-Pacific region through increased military presence and diplomacy with regional allies such as Japan and South Korea. Washington hopes to counter China’s growing power and influence in the region.
Austin announced the US’s intention to send an additional 500 troops to Taiwan to help with training and to deter Chinese aggression. He emphasized that the US would not stand by idly as China encroaches on its neighbors’ sovereignty.
The summit marks the first high-level in-person meeting between US and Chinese officials since President Joe Biden took office. The US-China relationship remains fraught with tensions, particularly on issues such as trade, human rights, and Taiwan. The summit is seen as an opportunity for both sides to engage in dialogue and reduce tensions.