US and Chinese military officials met at a defense chiefs conference in Fiji this month, in a rare direct engagement between the armed forces of the two superpowers.
(Bloomberg) — US and Chinese military officials met at a defense chiefs conference in Fiji this month, in a rare direct engagement between the armed forces of the two superpowers.
Admiral John Aquilino, who leads the US Indo-Pacific Command, held a meeting with a senior Chinese official at the event held Aug. 14-16, the Pentagon said. Chinese Defense Ministry spokesperson Wu Qian told reporters in Beijing Thursday that General Xu Qiling, deputy joint chief of staff of the People’s Liberation Army, met US representatives there. Neither side gave further details on the discussions.
Less than a month before the event, Aquilino, whose command co-hosted the conference, said China had so far ignored a US invitation to participate. The event ultimately featured delegations from 27 countries, according to the command.
China suspended military ties after then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan in August 2022. Subsequent efforts to resume those ties were derailed after the US identified and later shot down an alleged Chinese spy balloon transiting US territory in February.
China declined a US request for a meeting between Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and his counterpart, Li Shangfu, during the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore in June. Beijing has demanded the lifting of US sanctions against Li, who was cited in 2018 for overseeing an arms purchase from Russia.
In recent months, the Biden administration has sought to rebuild ties with Beijing, sending a string of civilian cabinet officials to China for meetings.
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