(USA Features) The Chinese government is continuing to ignore calls from the Biden administration and in particular Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin as tensions ramp up in the South China Sea and with U.S. ally Taiwan.
Austin “has so far been unable to speak with China’s top general despite multiple attempts to set up talks,” Reuters reported on Friday.
The report noted that relations between Washington and Beijing since President Joe Biden was inaugurated have grown increasingly tense as clashes over everything from Taiwan to China’s abysmal human rights record to ongoing military activity in the South China Sea.
Ignoring Austin comes on the heels of a meeting between American and Chinese diplomats in Anchorage, Alaska, which many observers felt Beijing’s envoys were intentionally disrespectful to Secretary of State Tony Blinken.
“The military relationship is strained, no question about that. It’s hard to know how much this is reflective of that strain as much as it is just Chinese intransigence,” a U.S. defense official told Reuters.
Meanwhile, a Beijing-backed think tank analysis published last week said that both nations are on the “brink of war” and that any number of sparks could ignite one.
“The China Cross-Strait Academy released a report on Wednesday on relations across the narrow stretch of water that separates mainland China from Taiwan,” the South China Morning Post reported. “It said researchers had looked at factors including the two sides’ military strength, trade relations, public opinion, political events and support from allies, concluding that they were ‘on the brink of war’.”