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Austin Speaks to Chinese Defense Minister, Then Sends U.S. Navy Plane Up Taiwan Strait

April 17, 2024 (EIRNS)—Yesterday, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin spoke with China’s Defense Minister Adm. Dong Jun for the first time in 18 months. Their discussion was followed less than 24 hours later by a U.S. Navy provocation over the Taiwan Strait.

Austin and Adm. Dong Jun, “discussed U.S.-P.R.C. defense relations and regional and global security issues,” the Pentagon readout reported. “Secretary Austin emphasized the importance of continuing to open lines of military-to-military communication between the United States and the P.R.C., following the 17th U.S.-P.R.C. Defense Policy Coordination Talks in January 2024 and a round of working-level Military Maritime Consultative Agreement talks in early April 2024.” Not suprisingly, Austin “reiterated that the United States will continue to fly, sail, and operate—safely and responsibly—wherever international law allows.” Austin also “underscored the importance of respect for high seas freedom of navigation guaranteed under international law, especially in the South China Sea.”

“Admiral Dong Jun said that the Presidents of China and the U.S. are committed to stabilizing and improving bilateral relations,” the PLA readout reports. “The military domain plays a pivotal role in implementing the consensus reached by the heads of state, stabilizing the development of bilateral relations, and preventing major crises. The two militaries should explore ways to get along with each other, taking peace, stability and trust as the basic principles of their exchanges, and build the military-to-military relationship featuring no conflict, no confrontation, open and pragmatic cooperation and gradual accumulation of mutual trust based on equality and mutual respect, so as to truly serve as a stable cornerstone for the development of relations between the two countries.” As the Chinese always do, Admiral Dong “emphasized that the Taiwan question is the very core of China’s core interests and China’s core interests brook no compromise.”

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