Singapore, June 4 : Accusing “some countries” of fuelling an arms race in Asia, China’s Defence Minister, General Li Shangfu on Sunday warned that a war between his country and the US would be an “unbearable disaster” for the world, media reports said.
In his address at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore – his first major speech since taking the post in March, he stressed that the world was big enough for both China and the US, and the two superpowers should seek common ground, the BBC reported.
Gen Li also accused the US of a “Cold War mentality” and said this was “greatly increasing security risks”.
He also highlighted that China would not allow naval patrols by the US and its allies to be “a pretext to exercise hegemony of navigation”.
His statement came after the US on Saturday alleged “unsafe” manoeuvres by a Chinese destroyer near a US warship transiting the Taiwan Strait with Canadian vessels.
China criticised both countries for “deliberately provoking risk” but the US and Canada said they were sailing where international law allows.
Asked about the incident, Gen Li said only that countries from outside the region were raising tensions.
With Beijing declining a US request for direct military talks in protest at sanctions placed on Gen Li by the US in 2018, US Defence Secretary, Gen Lloyd Austin and Gen Li shook hands and briefly spoke at the event’s opening dinner on Friday, but there was no substantive exchange, the BBC said, citing reports.(IANS)