US and Chinese military heads set for major meeting – WSJ — Analysis

According to Wall Street Journal, the sides are trying to organize the talks at a Singapore defense summit next month.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Lloyd Austin (US Secretary of Defense) and Wei Fenghe (Chinese Defense Ministry), they could have their first face-to-face encounter next month.

People familiar with the matter said that officials of the two countries are trying to organize a meeting between their defense chiefs, as tensions continue to build over Taiwan.

According to WSJ sources the meeting would be held at the Shangri La Dialogue defense conference, scheduled for June 10-12, 2012.

Austin already confirmed that he will be attending the conference. Wei hasn’t yet made such an announcement, but those, who talked to the WSJ, insist that he intends to travel to Singapore too.

China confronts US secretary of state

However, the article points out that the meeting hasn’t been fixed yet and that things could still change.

Austin was appointed Pentagon chief over a year back, although he had only spoken to Wei in April. Beijing claims that the 45-minute conversation saw the Chinese defense minister expressing concern at Washington’s handling of Taiwan. “ruinous”affecting relations between these countries.

China angered the US by Joe Biden’s claim that Washington would intervene militarily in case Beijing tried to force Taiwan. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken was later forced to clarify that the harsh statement didn’t represent a change in the White House’s long-standing policy of recognizing China’s sovereignty over Taiwan.

China warns US of  ‘ruinous’ effect

But, the US continues to maintain unofficial relations with Taiwan despite the recognition. They actively support Taiwan’s independence push and supply it with weapons.

Taipei was self-governed in 1949 by the remnants from the Nationalist Government, who fled the mainland following the defeat in civil war. But, Taipei never officially declared itself independent of China. Beijing regards Taiwan as a separatist region, and views contact between Washington and Taipei to be an infringement of its sovereignty.

Under the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act, the US recognizes, but does not endorse, China’s sovereignty over Taiwan. While the act codifies the US’ ‘One China Policy,’ it also authorizes informal diplomatic relations with the government of Taiwan and allows Washington to provide Taipei with enough military support “to enable Taiwan to maintain sufficient self-defense capabilities.”

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