United States Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said on Saturday he was deeply concerned by China's unwillingness to engage on military crisis management, warning that talks are key to avoiding conflict, Ednews reports.
The relationship between the United States and China is at its lowest point in decades, as they remain deeply divided over everything from the sovereignty of Taiwan to espionage and territorial disputes in the South China Sea.
Speaking at the Shangri-La Dialogue, Asia's top security summit, Austin said that open lines of communication between U.S. and Chinese defence and military leaders were essential to avoid conflict and bolster stability in the Asia-Pacific.
"I am deeply concerned that the PRC (People's Republic of China) has been unwilling to engage more seriously on better mechanisms for crisis management between our two militaries," Austin told the meeting in Singapore.
"The more that we talk, the more that we can avoid the misunderstandings and miscalculations that could lead to crisis or conflict."