US Not Trying to Create NATO-Like Alliance in Indo-Pacific Region

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us, nato, lloyd austin, indo-pacific region, taiwan strait, bilateral talks, shangri-la dialogue, singapore

us, nato, lloyd austin, indo-pacific region, taiwan strait, bilateral talks, shangri-la dialogue, singapore

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – The United States is not trying to create a NATO-like alliance in the Indo-Pacific region, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore.

“We’re not trying to create NATO in the Indo-Pacific,” Austin said, reiterating past remarks he made during the 2022 rendition of the security conference.

“It is rightful that European countries would remain interested in making sure that we have good relationship with” countries in the region.

Commenting on US-China tensions over Washington’s ties to Taiwan, Austin commented that a conflict in the Taiwan Strait would prove devastating.

“Conflict in the Taiwan Strait would be devastating,” Austin said. “So we are determined to maintain peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait. And so are a growing number of countries around the world.”

Tensions over Taiwan significantly increased last August after then-US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi traveled to Taipei despite Beijing’s warnings against such a visit. China condemned Pelosi’s trip, which it regarded as a gesture of support for separatism, and launched large-scale military exercises in the vicinity of the island.

Taiwan has been governed independently from mainland China since 1949. Beijing views the island as its province, while Taiwan maintains it is an autonomous country but stops short of declaring independence.

Beijing opposes any official contacts of foreign states with Taipei and considers Chinese sovereignty over the island indisputable.

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Austin further noted that he has yet to participate in any bipartisan talks with his Chinese counterpart, noting that the current state of ties has him “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.”

“But I hope that will change, and soon,” Austin followed up, later indicating he has no updates on “engagements” with Chinese officials on the topic of arms control. “I don’t have any updates for you there. You got to talk to them first.”

Austin and Chinese Defense Minister Li Shangfu earlier briefly greeted each other at the Shangri-La forum dinner reception, but did not exchange any meaningful dialogue. Austin said in May that he expected to engage with his Chinese counterpart on the sidelines of the forum, but China declined.





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