Singapore: Amid China’s growing quest for control over Indo-Pacific, the superpower rivals China and the US continue to support their positions as speakers at this weekend’s Shangri-La Dialogue security summit, Nikkei Asia reported.
The 19th Shangri-La Dialogue was held in Singapore from Friday to Sunday after a two-year suspension due to the COVID-19 pandemic, focusing mainly on security in the Asia-Pacific region and viable solutions.
During the summit, the delegates from more than 40 countries or regions exchanged views on regional and global security issues.
The Chinese Defence Minister Wei Fenghe and US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin during their first face-to-face meeting sparred over the issue of Taiwan on Friday with Washington saying Beijing is trying to change the status quo over the island and Beijing condemning the arms sales to Taipei.
Austin has repeatedly described China as the “pacing challenge” for the Defence Department and said that the Indo-Pacific region is the priority for the United States, as China is seeking a regional agreement with Pacific island nations that would expand its role in policing maritime cooperation, and cybersecurity.
Biden and Ardern also opposed unlawful maritime claims and activities in the South China Sea that run counter to the rules-based international order, particularly the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). They reaffirmed support for freedom of navigation and overflight, in the South China Sea and beyond.
Moreover, the already tensed relationship between Washington and Beijing boiled over when a US congressional delegation visited Taiwan recently.
Beijing claims full sovereignty over Taiwan, a democracy of almost 24 million people located off the south-eastern coast of mainland China, despite the fact that the two sides have been governed separately for more than seven decades, reported Nikkei Asia.
Taipei, on the other hand, has countered the Chinese aggression by increasing strategic ties with democracies including the US, which has been repeatedly opposed by Beijing. China has threatened that “Taiwan’s independence” means war.
It is to be noted that China on Monday also sent 30 warplanes into Taiwan’s air defence identification zone, the highest daily figure in four months.