| 19 April 2024, Friday |

U.S. urges China military dialogue despite rebuff to Blinken

Following Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s weekend trip to Beijing, the US reiterated its desire for military communication channels with China and expressed alarm over rumors that China planned to build a military training site in Cuba.

Establishing military-to-military connections is critical to reducing tensions between the two global powers, according to Sarah Beran, White House National Security Council senior director for China and Taiwan Affairs, during a travel briefing.

“This is an absolutely critical way for us to manage competition, crisis communication, ensure that there is not miscommunication or misperception about each other’s intentions,” Beran said.

“We remain willing and able at all levels to meet and call on China to respond appropriately to that.”

Blinken said on Tuesday that the United States would have “deep concerns” about Chinese military activities in Cuba, after the Wall Street Journal reported that Beijing was planning a new training facility there.

Blinken told a press conference in London that he had made those concerns clear to his Chinese counterparts.

“This is something we’re going to be monitoring very, very closely and we’ve been very clear about that. And we will protect our homeland, we will protect our interests,” Blinken added.

During Blinken’s Beijing visit, the first to China by a U.S. secretary of state since 2018, the nations agreed to temper rivalries to avoid conflict but there were no breakthroughs.

China cited U.S. sanctions as an obstacle to military dialogue which Blinken said he had repeatedly raised with his hosts and would continue to push for.

Chinese Defence Minister Li Shangfu has been sanctioned since 2018 over the purchase of combat aircraft and equipment from Russia’s main arms exporter, Rosoboronexport.

  • Reuters