Written by 07:54 World

In Singapore, China Warns U.S. While Zelensky Seeks Support

The competing strains on U.S. global power came into sharp focus at a security conference on Sunday, where China accused the United States of stoking tensions around Taiwan and the South China Sea, and President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine was seeking greater support for his embattled country.

These scenes played out at the Shangri-La Dialogue, an annual security forum in Singapore that has long been a barometer of the ups and downs of U.S.-China relations.

This year, the United States Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III and China’s defense minister, Adm. Dong Jun, held talks, something the top defense officials from the two countries have not always done at this gathering. But Admiral Dong made clear that China remained deeply antagonistic to U.S. influence and alliance-building across Asia, especially American support for Taiwan, the island democracy that Beijing claims as its territory.

“These malign intentions are drawing Taiwan to the dangers of war,” Admiral Dong told the meeting after making an oblique but unmistakable reference to U.S. military and political support for Taiwan. “Anyone who dares split Taiwan from China will be smashed to pieces and court their own destruction.”

Admiral Dong’s warnings, like other combative comments from Chinese military officers at the meeting, reflected how Beijing and Washington remain sharply divided over some fundamental regional issues, even as they discuss ways to keep military friction at sea and in the air from spiraling into crisis.

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Last modified: 2 June 2024
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