U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense: U.S.-China dialogue can avoid misjudgment-News-Rti Central Radio

U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense: Only U.S.-China dialogue can avoid miscalculation
Ely Ratner, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Indo-Pacific. (AP/Dazhi Video)

U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense for Indo-Pacific Affairs Ritner said that the establishment and maintenance of open communication channels between the United States and China is an important part of maintaining peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait. But he said frankly that the Chinese side has not yet responded to US Defense Secretary Austin’s expectation to hold talks with Chinese Defense Minister Li Shangfu in June.

The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a Washington think tank, invited Ely Ratner and Siddharth Mohandas, Deputy Assistant Secretary for East Asian Affairs, to discuss the role of the United States in Indo-Pacific security on the 25th.

When talking about the Taiwan Strait issue, Retner said that establishing and maintaining an open communication channel with China is an important part of maintaining peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait. This is not only related to US defense, allies and partners, but also involves interaction with China .

He also reiterated the U.S. position and pointed out that the U.S. policy toward Taiwan remains unchanged and will continue to implement the Taiwan Relations Act and the one-China policy. The clear goal of the United States is to maintain the status quo across the Taiwan Strait and does not support Taiwan independence. The maintenance of the status quo pursued by the United States is in the best interests of the entire region.

Retner pointed out that according to the Taiwan Relations Act, the United States is obliged to provide Taiwan with the defensive weapons it needs to defend itself, and the bill also requires the United States to maintain the ability to resist coercion. The United States will continue to develop new concepts and build new capabilities by adjusting its military posture and working with allies and partners.

Ritner also emphasized that he does not believe that a conflict across the Taiwan Strait is inevitable or imminent. The deterrent force of the United States is real and powerful, making Beijing unable to bear the cost of conflict. Although it will be a challenge and a sense of urgency as the Chinese military continues to modernize, the U.S. believes that the current deterrence is strong and real, and the U.S. military will continue to maintain this posture tomorrow, next week, next year or in the future.

Although Retner emphasized the importance of maintaining communication channels between the United States and China, Retner admitted frankly that any official or unofficial calls and talks proposed by the Chinese side were rejected or ignored by the Chinese side. The United States hopes to have a military dialogue with China, but China does not want to do so. He reiterated that only dialogue can avoid miscalculation or misunderstanding and reduce the risk of crisis escalation.

Regarding Lloyd Austin’s intention to use the opportunity of the “Shangri-La Dialogue” in Singapore in June to meet with Li Shangfu, Retner pointed out that he has not yet received a formal response from the Chinese side. He emphasized that China refused to talk on the grounds that Li Shangfu was listed as a target of sanctions by the United States, but sanctions should not be a reason to prevent the two sides from meeting.

In September 2018, the U.S. State Department listed Li Shangfu, then Minister of Equipment Development of the Central Military Commission of the Communist Party of China, as a target of sanctions on the grounds that he was involved in “major transactions” with Russian arms dealers.


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