China says defense chief called for greater 'trust' in talks with US

Agence France-Presse
China says defense chief called for greater 'trust' in talks with US
(FILES) (COMBO) This combination of pictures created on November 11, 2022 shows US President Joe Biden (L) as he addresses the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate from the South Court Auditorium of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, next to the White House, in Washington, DC, on June 17, 2022, and China's President Xi Jinping (R) as he speaks after walking with members of the Chinese Communist Party's new Politburo Standing Committee, the nation's top decision-making body, to meet the media in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on October 23, 2022. US President Joe Biden equated his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping with "dictators" on June 20, 2023, as he addressed a Democratic Party donors reception in California in the presence of journalists.
AFP / Mandel Ngan, Noel Celis

BEIJING, China — China said Wednesday its defense minister called for greater "trust" between Beijing and Washington in their defense chiefs' first substantive talks in nearly 18 months.

"China and the United States should... take peace as the most precious, stability as the most important," Dong Jun told US counterpart Lloyd Austin, according to a Beijing readout, adding they should "gradually build up mutual trust between the two militaries".

"The military sphere is the key... to stabilizing the development of the relationship and preventing major crises from occurring," Dong said.

Presidents Joe Biden and Xi Jinping are "committed to promoting the stabilization and improvement of bilateral relations", the defense chief said.

But he also warned the US over the self-ruled island of Taiwan, which Beijing claims as its own.

"Dong Jun emphasized that the Taiwan issue is the core of China's core interests," the defense ministry readout said.

The Chinese military, he warned, "will never sit idly by all 'Taiwan independence' separatist activities" or "external connivance and support" for it.

He also urged the US to respect his country's position on the South China Sea, which Beijing claims almost in its entirety and where tensions have flared in recent months.

"The US side should recognize China's firm position, respect China's territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests in the South China Sea, and take practical actions to safeguard regional peace," Dong said.

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