Washington (The Times Groupe)- The Chinese and the U.S. defense chiefs will meet for the first time in person on Friday in Singapore.
“Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe will meet with US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Friday afternoon (local time) at the Shangri-La Dialogue,” the Chinese daily Global Times reported.
After a two-year hiatus due to a pandemic, the Shangri-La Dialogue security summit resumes on Friday. Defense and security officials from 42 countries will attend the event that will last until Sunday.
China’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida will deliver the keynote address. Austin will speak on Saturday, while Wei will speak on Sunday.
Austin and Wei have spoken just once since the Biden administration took office in January 2021 — a 45-minute phone call this April that the Pentagon described as “fine.”
Washington is focusing more on the Asia-Pacific region at this time, bolstering bilateral and multilateral support in order to contain Beijing’s increasing influence.
“I look forward to strengthening our alliances and partnerships in the Indo-Pacific and advancing the region’s shared vision of peace and security,” Austin tweeted on landing in Singapore.