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The United States has confirmed its participation in China’s top security summit this October, indicating a possible thaw in military relations between the two nations. Washington’s decision follows its interest in “resetting” defense communication with China.
According to reports, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin received an invitation to the forum from October 29th to 31st. Despite this, the US has chosen to refrain from sending Austin to this Beijing-initiated event, which serves as China’s response to the yearly Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore. Notably, at the Shangri-La Dialogue held earlier in May, China’s Defense Minister Li Shangfu, who has since vanished from the public eye, passed on a formal sit-down with the US defense secretary.
The Pentagon remains tight-lipped about the specific US representatives attending but expressed appreciation for the chance to converse with China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) representatives in a statement. The focal point of the discussion is expected to revolve around maintaining transparent and dependable communication channels.
The 2019 forum saw the US Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for China, Chad Sbragia, in attendance, marking the highest-ranking US official to partake to that date. Historically, the US delegation comprised primarily of embassy defense attaches.