The heads of the defense departments of the United States and China talked for the first time during the presidency of Joe Biden.
Pentagon Chief Lloyd Austin spoke with Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe on Wednesday.
According to U.S. Military spokesman John Kirby, during the conversation, relations between the two countries and “regional security issues, as well as Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine” were discussed.
Despite the tension and sharp rhetoric, the U.S. military has long sought to have open lines of communication with its Chinese counterparts in order to be able to mitigate possible aggravations in relations or respond to emergencies.
However, it was not until April 20 that Austin was able to talk to the head of the Chinese defense ministry.
According to a U.S. government official who spoke on condition of anonymity, the conversation, which lasted about 45 minutes, did not lead to any major breakthroughs, but Austin reiterated the importance that Beijing should not help Russia in its aggression against Ukraine.
Recall that the United States does not have official relations with Taiwan, but is the largest country in the world that supports it and supplies it with weapons.
The Biden administration has repeatedly stated its firm commitment to support Taiwan, whose way of government is democratic.
During the conversation, Wei noted that Taiwan is part of China.
“If the Taiwan issue is not resolved properly, it will have a detrimental impact on Sino-American relations,” Wei added, according to a statement released by the Chinese Defense Ministry.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has also made Taipei wary of possible attempts by Beijing to use the Ukrainian crisis to seize the island. However, there are no signs yet that China is going to attack Taiwan.