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China says it opposes US defense chief's comments on engagement

June 3, 2023 - 15:18 By Yonhap
US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin attends 20th International Institute for Strategic Studies Shangri-La Dialogue, Asia's annual defense and security forum, in Singapore, Friday. (Yonhap)

SINGAPORE (Reuters) -- China strongly opposes the United States defense chief's comments at the Shangri-La Dialogue that Beijing was unwilling to engage on military crisis management, a senior People's Liberation Army official said on Saturday.

Lieutenant General Jing Jianfeng also said Beijing reiterates its indisputable sovereignty over islands in the South China Sea and adjacent waters.

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin had earlier told the conference in Singapore he was deeply concerned by China's unwillingness to engage and that talks were essential to avoid a crisis.