Wei Fenghe, Lloyd Austin to hold 1st in-person meeting at Shangri-La Dialogue security summit.
The Chinese and American defense chiefs are meeting on Friday for their first face-to-face meeting in Singapore.
“Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe will meet with US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Friday afternoon (local time) at Shangri-La Dialogue,” the Chinese daily Global Times reported.
The 19th edition of the prominent Shangri-La Dialogue security summit resumes on Friday after a two-year pandemic-induced hiatus. Top defense and security officials from 42 countries are coming together for the event to last until Sunday.
Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida will deliver a keynote address. Austin is due to speak at the event on Saturday, while Wei is among the speakers scheduled for Sunday.
Since the Biden administration came to power in January 2021, Austin and Wei have spoken just once — a 45-minute phone call this April that the Pentagon described simply as “good.”
Their expected meeting in Singapore comes at a time when Washington is focusing more on the Asia-Pacific region, shoring up bilateral and multilateral support as it seeks to contain Beijing’s growing influence.
“I’m looking forward to further strengthening our alliances and partnerships in the Indo-Pacific, while advancing the region’s shared vision for peace and security,” Austin tweeted as he landed in Singapore.