China seeks dialogue, says clash with U.S. would be 'unbearable disaster'
Adds details, background throughout
SINGAPORE, June 4 (Reuters) - Chinese Defence Minister Li Shangfu said on Sunday that conflict with the United States would be an "unbearable disaster" but that his countryseeks dialogue over confrontation.
Speaking at Asia's top security summit, the Shangri-La Dialogue, dressed in the uniform of a general in the People's Liberation Army, Li said the world was big enough for China and the U.S. to grow together.
"China and the U.S. have different systems and are different in many other ways," he said in a speech that marked his first significant international address since he was named China's Minister of National Defence in March.
"However, this should not keep the two sides from seeking common ground and common interests to grow bilateral ties and deepen cooperation," he said. "It is undeniable that a severe conflict or confrontation between China and the U.S. will be an unbearable disaster for the world."
Ties between Washington and Beijing are badly strained over a range of issues, including democratically ruled Taiwan, territorial disputes in the South China Sea and President Joe Biden's restrictions on semiconductor chip exports.
In their latest row, China's military criticised the United States and Canada for "deliberately provoking risk" after the countries' navies staged a rare joint sailing through the sensitive Taiwan Strait on Saturday.
U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin rebuked China in a speech at the security meeting in Singapore on Saturday for refusing to hold military talks, leaving the superpowers deadlocked over their differences.
Li was more restrained in his speech, although he took thinly veiled digs at the United States, accusing "some countries" of intensifying an arms race and wilfully interfering in the internal affairs of others.
"A Cold War mentality is now resurgent, greatly increasing security risks," he said. "Mutual respect should prevail over bullying and hegemony."
Li, sanctioned by the United States in 2018 over weapons purchases from Russia, shook hands with Austin at a dinner on Friday but the two have not had a deeper discussion, despite repeated U.S. demands for more military exchanges.
Speaking privately the sidelines of the conference, two Chinese military officers said that Beijing wanted clear signs from Washington of a less confrontational approach in Asia - including the dropping of sanctions against Li - before military-to-military talks could resume.
Reporting by Chen Lin, Greg Torode; Editing by Gerry Doyle and Raju Gopalakrishnan
Disclaimer: The XM Group entities provide execution-only service and access to our Online Trading Facility, permitting a person to view and/or use the content available on or via the website, is not intended to change or expand on this, nor does it change or expand on this. Such access and use are always subject to: (i) Terms and Conditions; (ii) Risk Warnings; and (iii) Full Disclaimer. Such content is therefore provided as no more than general information. Particularly, please be aware that the contents of our Online Trading Facility are neither a solicitation, nor an offer to enter any transactions on the financial markets. Trading on any financial market involves a significant level of risk to your capital.
All material published on our Online Trading Facility is intended for educational/informational purposes only, and does not contain – nor should it be considered as containing – financial, investment tax or trading advice and recommendations; or a record of our trading prices; or an offer of, or solicitation for, a transaction in any financial instruments; or unsolicited financial promotions to you.
Any third-party content, as well as content prepared by XM, such as: opinions, news, research, analyses, prices and other information or links to third-party sites contained on this website are provided on an “as-is” basis, as general market commentary, and do not constitute investment advice. To the extent that any content is construed as investment research, you must note and accept that the content was not intended to and has not been prepared in accordance with legal requirements designed to promote the independence of investment research and as such, it would be considered as marketing communication under the relevant laws and regulations. Please ensure that you have read and understood our Notification on Non-Independent Investment. Research and Risk Warning concerning the foregoing information, which can be accessed here.