I. The Big Story: US-China Defence Ties; Strategic Competition in AI
Wei Fenghe, China’s Defence Minister and Mark Esper, US Defence Secretary discussed Hong Kong, Taiwan, the South China Sea and Xinjiang over a video call on Tuesday. No details of Wei’s comments on any of the four topics were out, although he has issued a series of harsh statements renewing China’s determination to back up its territorial claims with force, reports Associated Press.
The Global Times reports that Wei “stressed” China’s position on those issues, and called for cooperation and stability between China and the United States and their militaries. Xinhua reports, Wei told Esper that while China-U.S. relations had reached a crucial period, mutually beneficial cooperation was the only correct choice. “The two sides should fully implement the consensus reached by the two heads of state, adhere to mutual respect and equality, focus on common interests, and continue to promote the mil-to-mil relationship as a stabiliser for bilateral relations,” reads the Chinese Defence Ministry statement. The statement adds that the talks were part of a push for a stable relationship between the two militaries.