Chinese defense minister to attend Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore
Published: May 29, 2023 08:12 PM
China-US Graphic: GT

China-US Graphic: GT

China's minister of defense Li Shangfu will attend an Asian defense summit in Singapore this week and introduce China's new security initiative. Experts said on Monday that the move will promote peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region amid tensions in the Taiwan Straits and the South China Sea stirred up by the US.

Upon invitation, Chinese State Councilor and Minister of National Defense Li will attend the 20th IISS Shangri-La Dialogue and visit Singapore from Wednesday to Sunday, Senior Colonel Tan Kefei, spokesperson of China's Ministry of National Defense, announced at a regular press conference on Monday.

During the summit, Li will make a speech on "China's new security initiatives and meet delegation heads of related countries, Tan said. Li will also meet and hold talks with leaders of the Singaporean government and defense authority, the spokesperson said.

The Chinese defense chief is expected to reiterate China's red line on the Taiwan question and warn external forces not to interfere in this internal affair of China's, Song Zhongping, a Chinese military expert and TV commentator, told the Global Times on Monday.

Li is also expected to call for the building of the South China Sea into a sea of peace and friendship, as well as the signing of the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea as soon as possible, Song said.

China is bringing its sincerity to the Shangri-La Dialogue, and also hopes to communicate with other countries in an equal and mutually beneficial manner to promote peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region, the expert said.

Tensions in the Taiwan Straits and the South China Sea have been rising recently, with the US instigating the "Taiwan independence" secessionist forces to resist reunification by force by selling weapons to the island of Taiwan and making wrong political remarks, while also gaining additional military bases in the Philippines and holding large-scale drills targeting China.

At the same time, the US is reportedly looking to arrange a meeting between Li and US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin during the Shangri-La Dialogue, but no confirmation has been given as of press time.

The US should show more sincerity if it wants to communicate, Song said.

A formal meeting between the defense chiefs of the two countries is almost impossible if the US' unlawful sanctions on the Chinese defense minister stays in place, experts said.