U.S. and China relations continue to be strained. This weekend it was announced that the Chinese have declined a meeting request from the United States.
The requested meeting was for U.S. and China’s defense chiefs to hold a meeting at an annual security forum in Singapore set for this weekend.
The Pentagon shared a statement on Monday, “Overnight, the PRC informed the U.S. that they have declined our early May invitation for Secretary (Lloyd) Austin to meet with PRC Minister of National Defense Li Shangfu in Singapore.”
The Pentagon added, “The Department believes strongly in the importance of maintaining open lines of military-to-military communication between Washington and Beijing to ensure that competition does not veer into conflict.”
Tuesday, China’s foreign ministry put out a statement placing blame on the United States for the declined meeting. Mao Ning a foreign ministry spokesperson told reporters, “The U.S. side should … immediately correct its wrong practices, show sincerity, and create the necessary atmosphere and conditions for dialogue and communication between the two militaries.”
“If the United States says it wants to communicate while suppressing and containing China by any means and imposing sanctions on Chinese officials, institutions, and enterprises, what is the sincerity and meaning of such communication?” Ning shared.
China’s Minister of National Defense Li Shangfu has been under U.S. sanctions since 2018. He was placed under sanctions over the purchase of combat aircraft and equipment from a Russian arms exporter.
Joe Biden had indicated at a summit of major industrial nations in Japan earlier this month that the sanctions on Li may be lifted. The state department later countered Biden and said that was not under consideration.
According to a senior U.S. defense official, since 2021 Beijing has declined or failed to respond to more than a dozen requests for meetings.
It appears that communication between the U.S. and China has been on the rocks since Biden took office. All this is while Russia and China appear to grow closer.