US, China, Southeast Asia Defence Officials Meet Amid Crises

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Defence ministers and officials from the United States, China, Russia and Southeast Asia gathered in Indonesia on Thursday for a meeting where they are expected to discuss geopolitical crises in and outside the region.

Defence ministers in Southeast Asia’s regional bloc ASEAN called on Wednesday for a ceasefire in Gaza and a durable solution in Myanmar, as conflicts are deepening there.

“Indonesia is of the view that the region’s multiple security issues, ranging from traditional and non-traditional threats, can only be solved by extensive open and inclusive global collaboration,” Prabowo Subianto, Indonesia’s defence minister said in an opening speech on Thursday.

Prabowo did not mention any specific issues in the speech, but he named on Wednesday the South China Sea, the Korean Peninsula and Myanmar as “hot spots that can destabilise the region.”

Among those attending are U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Russia’s Deputy Defence Minister Alexander Fomin and Jing Jianfeng, China’s deputy chief of staff of the Joint Staff Department of the Central Military Commission.

Other countries participating on Thursday are Australia, New Zealand and others, while Myanmar is absent.

Myanmar’s generals have been barred from high-level meetings of the 10-member ASEAN since they seized power in a 2021 coup and unleashed violence on those who challenged their takeover.

The meeting comes as U.S. President Joe Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping met on Wednesday on the outskirts of San Francisco, where they agreed to resume military-to-military communications and work to curb fentanyl production.

Indonesia and Malaysia have also called for a ceasefire in the ongoing conflict in Gaza. Visiting Washington this week, Indonesian President Joko Widodo pressed Biden to do more to end Israel’s war with Hamas.

Source : Reuters