Lloyd Austin says there is no evidence of an imminent war with China after meeting with Chinese defense minister

News & Politics

The New York Post reported that U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin told top security officials on Saturday that there was no evidence of an imminent war with China. The development comes amid fears that tensions have heightened between China and other countries in the Asia-Pacific region.

Austin insisted that dialogue needed to open up between him and his Chinese counterpart. He made the statements just one day after he met with Chinese Defense Minister Dong Jun. The meeting represented the first time defense officials held talks after a communication breakdown following then-U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan in 2022.

‘Our goal is to make sure that we don’t allow things to spiral out of control unnecessarily.’

Neither side conceded any ground on the Taiwan issue. China has not ruled out using force to take back Taiwan. China’s sweeping claims of authority in the South China Sea have also caused issues with other countries, specifically the Philippines, according to the report.

Austin did not divulge the specifics of his talks with Jun, but he mentioned that the most important part was that talks had resumed.

“As long as we’re talking, we’re able to identify those issues that are troublesome and that we want to make sure that we have placed guardrails to ensure there are no misperceptions and no miscalculations … that can spiral out of control,” he said.

“You can only do that kind of thing if you are talking,” he added.

The Associated Press reported that Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. laid out what was at stake for his country. He said if China were to kill a Filipino as a consequence of engaging with the small nation’s coast guard, it would be “very, very close to what we define as an act of war and therefore we will respond accordingly.”

Marcos added that he expects the Philippines’ treaty partners would “hold the same standard.” The U.S. is one of the Philippines’ partners.

Austin praised Marcos for speaking “so powerfully last night about how the Philippines is standing up for its sovereign rights under international law.” However, he stopped short of detailing how the U.S. would respond if a Filipino were to be killed in a dispute with China, according to the report.

Austin reiterated that the U.S. was committed to the Philippines and emphasized further talks with China.

“There are a number of things that can happen at sea or in the air, we recognize that,” Austin said. “But our goal is to make sure that we don’t allow things to spiral out of control unnecessarily.”

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