Amid deteriorating U.S.-China relations, further aggravated by a highly unusual trip to Taiwan this weekend by Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, Defense Secretary Mark Esper talked for 90 minutes on Thursday with his Chinese counterpart, Defense Minister Wei Fenghe.
According to accounts by both sides, the two nations' military leaders had plenty of grievances to air. The Trump administration has lately accused China of hiding information about the coronavirus, shut down China's consulate last month in Houston for alleged spying, accused China of military expansionism in the South China Sea, and enraged Beijing with a $2 billion sale of weapons to Taiwan, the democratically ruled island whose independence from China has never been recognized by Beijing.
"Secretary Esper called for greater PRC [People's Republic of China] transparency on COVID, expressed concern about PRC destabilizing activity in the vicinity of Taiwan and the South China Sea, and called on the PRC to honor international obligations under the principles of the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration," the Pentagon press office said Thursday in a news release. "Secretary Esper communicated the importance that the PRC abide by international laws, rules, and norms, and meet its international commitments."
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