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In the shadow of the Ukraine conflict, the U.S. and China will battle at an Asian security forum

Image: Reuters Berita 24 English - This week, the United States and China are poised to use Asia's top security gathering to trade blows...

Image: Reuters

Berita 24 English - This week, the United States and China are poised to use Asia's top security gathering to trade blows over everything from Taiwan's sovereignty to the war in Ukraine, while both sides have signaled a willingness to discuss resolving their disagreements.

The Shangri-La Dialogue, which attracts high-ranking military officials, diplomats, and weapons manufacturers from around the world, will take place in Singapore from June 10 to June 12. This will be the first time the event has taken place in 2019 after being postponed twice due to COVID-19.

It is anticipated that U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Chinese Minister of National Defense General Wei Fenghe would hold their first face-to-face meeting since the inauguration of President Joe Biden.

A senior U.S. official stated, "We anticipate that the focus of the discussion will be on managing competitiveness in regional and global concerns."

According to Chinese media, Beijing will also utilize the summit to discuss cooperation with the United States.

Austin and Wei are likely to use their weekend statements to reaffirm their commitment to the Asia-Pacific region while also making sharp remarks about the other.

In recent months, relations between China and the United States have been difficult, with the world's two largest economies sparring over China's belligerence towards Taiwan, its military operations in the South China Sea, and Beijing's aspirations to expand its influence in the Pacific area.

Even though the focus of the meeting is on Asian security challenges, Russia's invasion of Ukraine will continue to dominate discussions. Last week marked the 100th day of the fighting, which has killed tens of thousands of people, displaced millions, and turned cities to ashes.

According to a source acquainted with the list of guests, Ukraine will send a delegation to the meeting, but the Russians will not be there.

Li Mingjiang, an associate professor at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore, remarked, "American attendees will seize the opportunity to criticize China's strategic alliance with Russia."

"There will be some conclusions that the China-Russia cooperation is a coalition of autocracies... China will defend its connection with Russia, as well as its attitude and policy toward Ukraine."


With U.S. military and diplomatic capital consumed by the conflict in Ukraine, Austin will be under pressure to convince China's Asian competitors that they can depend on the United States.

"They assert that China is a significant threat, going so far as to call it an acute threat. However, it appears that the majority of attention and resources are focused on Europe "Elbridge Colby, a former top Pentagon officer, stated. It is not about words, but rather about actions.

Taiwan will undoubtedly dominate bilateral discussions between the United States and China, as well as the majority of the conference.

China, which claims democratic Taiwan as its own territory, has boosted military action near the island over the past two years in response to what it terms "collusion" between Taiwan and the United States.

Derek Grossman, a senior defense analyst at the think tank RAND Corporation, stated, "The U.S. is going to come out swinging on Taiwan in particular, as well as China's growing assertiveness throughout the Indo-Pacific."

This month, Vice President Biden stated that the United States might intervene militarily if China attacked Taiwan, but the administration has since stressed that U.S. policy has not changed and that Washington does not support Taiwan's independence.

Washington has maintained a longstanding strategy of strategic ambiguity on Taiwan's military defense.

The Pacific islands have also emerged as a crucial front in the geopolitical competition between the United States and China.

The special envoy of Vice President Biden is scheduled to visit the Marshall Islands the following week, amidst mounting U.S. concerns over China's efforts to expand its influence in the region. Ten Pacific foreign ministers agreed last week at a virtual meeting hosted by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Fiji to postpone consideration of a Chinese proposal for a comprehensive trade and security deal.

Also lurking over the Shangri-La Dialogue is the growing military danger posed by North Korea, which has conducted at least 18 rounds of weapons tests this year, demonstrating the development of its nuclear and missile arsenals.

On Wednesday, officials from South Korea, the United States, and Japan described North Korea's recent missile tests as "grave, illegal provocation."

On Friday, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida will deliver a keynote address in which he is anticipated to push for peaceful settlements to problems in the Asia-Pacific region.

(This story is updated to correct the timeframe in paragraph 3)

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