US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said he “regrets” his Chinese counterpart Li Changfu’s refusal to meet with him this week in Singapore.
“I think it’s unfortunate,” Austin said during a visit to Tokyo on Thursday, warning that after recent “provocative intercepts” by Chinese fighter jets, he was more worried about the possibility of an accident that “could quickly spiral out of control.”
This comes after the United States announced two days ago that a Chinese fighter jet had made an “unnecessarily aggressive” maneuver near a US RC-135 over the South China Sea.
The Chinese Ministry of Defense said that military relations between China and the United States are very important and that contacts and exchanges between the two armies are uninterrupted.
Commenting on China’s rejection of the US proposal to host a meeting of the two countries’ defense ministers in Singapore on the sidelines of the Shangri-La Regional Security Forum to be held in Singapore from June 2 to 4, Chinese Ministry Spokesman Tang Kefei said that the dialogue should be principled, and the current the difficulties in exchanging views between the two armies come from the American side, which ignores Beijing’s concerns and creates obstacles that, according to him, seriously undermine mutual trust.