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During this week’s military talks between China and the United States, the first since 2022, China firmly stated it would make “no concession or compromise” on Taiwan. These discussions, led by the Pentagon’s top China official Michael Chase and Chinese Maj. Gen. Song Yanchao comes as Taiwan prepares for a significant election and tensions in the Indo-Pacific region increase, particularly following recent Chinese confrontations with the Philippines.

Maj. Gen. Song, representing China, expressed a willingness to create a stable military relationship with the US. However, he emphasized Beijing’s stance on Taiwan, insisting that Washington stop arming Taipei and supporting its independence. Song’s remarks echoed China’s consistent hardline position on the Taiwan issue.

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In response, Chase reiterated the US’s adherence to the One China policy, which acknowledges Taiwan as part of China but allows for informal relations with Taipei. He also reaffirmed the US’s unwavering support for its Indo-Pacific allies.

The discussions also covered recent conflicts in the South China Sea, where Chinese forces clashed with the US.-allied Philippines. Chase highlighted the importance of respecting the freedom of navigation and criticized China’s harassment of Philippine vessels. Despite international rulings against its claims, China continues to assert almost total sovereignty over the South China Sea, leading to disputes with neighboring countries. At the meeting, Song called for the US to reduce its military presence in the region and refrain from supporting actions deemed provocative by Beijing, reflecting ongoing tensions over military alliances in the Indo-Pacific.

These talks follow a significant November meeting between President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping, aimed at restoring military communications. The relationship had been strained following incidents like a Chinese spy balloon over US territory and China’s suspension of military channels after Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan in August 2022. The Biden-Xi meeting led to the first high-level military discussions in months, although no major breakthroughs were achieved.


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