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Unpredicted Encounter: Pentagon Chief and Chinese Defense Minister Meet, Reported by Media


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Moscow, May 11 – The Financial Times reported, citing sources, that a meeting between US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and his Chinese counterpart Li Changfu in Singapore in June is unlikely as long as US sanctions against the Chinese defense minister are in place.
According to the newspaper, the United States informed China that the sanctions did not prevent Austin from meeting with her Chinese counterpart in a third country.
According to the sources, “there is no possibility that the administration of US President Joe Biden will lift the sanctions” imposed on Li Changfu.

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Earlier, Bloomberg reported, citing informed sources, that the Pentagon is seeking a meeting between Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and his Chinese counterpart Li Shangfu in Singapore next month. The proposed meeting between Austin and Li Shangfu will take place on the sidelines of the Shangri-La Dialogue, an annual government security forum that brings together defense ministers and other military leaders from 28 countries in the Asia-Pacific region. Last year, Austin had met Li Changfu’s predecessor General Wei Fengyi at the same event.
However, unlike its predecessor, Li Shangfu is subject to US sanctions. In 2018, the US Treasury filed it against the Ministry of Training and Supply of the Chinese Central Military Council and the current minister who headed it at the time. This fact, according to observers, could make high-level military contacts between the United States and China somewhat embarrassing.
The Shangri-La Dialogue is scheduled to take place from June 2-4.

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