Austin urges end to ‘bullying’ in Asia in speech aimed at China

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US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin called for an Asia that is free of “aggression and bullying” on Saturday as he laid out America’s vision for the region to security leaders.

Addressing the IISS Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, Austin said that America stands for a world that “respects territorial integrity and political independence, as well as human rights.

“We feel the headwinds - from threats and intimidation - and the obsolete belief in a world carved up into spheres of influence,” Austin said, according to remarks as prepared for delivery.

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China and the US are using the dialogue to press their competing strategies for regional stability, even as the war in Ukraine consumes Washington’s attention and Beijing struggles with economic pressures at home.

On Friday, Austin and China’s Minister of National Defense Wei Fenghe held their first in-person meeting since President Joe Biden’s election.

The pair discussed regional and global security, including Taiwan and Russia’s ongoing war in Ukraine, and agreed to meet further at an unspecified date.

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