Tue, 29 Nov 2022

Beijing [China], November 20 (ANI): Chinese Defence Minister Wei Fenghe is ready to hold a meeting with his US counterpart, Lloyd Austin, on the margins of the ASEAN Defence Ministers' Meeting-Plus (ADMM-Plus) this week, Chinese Defence Ministry spokesperson Tan Kefei said on Sunday.

"The Chinese side is proactive and open to exchanging views with the United States during the ASEAN Defence Ministers' Meeting with Dialogue Partners, and the relevant agencies of the two sides are in contact and in coordination on this issue," the Chinese Defence Ministry said in a statement, as quoted by Sputnik news agency.

On Saturday, the Chinese defence ministry said Wei would participate in the ninth ADMM-Plus from November 20-24 in Cambodia. Ahead of his Cambodia visit, US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin said that Pentagon must remain clear-eyed about the threat of China.

"[China's] military activities in the Taiwan Strait are growing increasingly provocative, with [China's People's Liberation Army] aircraft flying near Taiwan in record numbers on a near-daily basis. We've also seen a sharp increase in the number of dangerous PLA intercepts of U.S. and allied forces ... that are operating lawfully in international airspace over the South and East China Seas," he said.

This comes as the Biden administration has said that working with allies and partners in the region is the best way to defend the rules-based architecture and deter aggression.

US-China relations were strained in recent months due to visits by US lawmakers, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, to Taiwan despite objections from Beijing. The disagreement resulted in increased Chinese military activity around the island and condemnation of the trips.

The ADMM-Plus is a platform for cooperation between the defence ministries of ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian nations) and its eight dialogue partners -- Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Russia and the US -- created in April 2010. (ANI)

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