U.S, allies trade barbs with China

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WASHINGTON
The United States and its allies traded barbs with China at Asia’s premier security meeting on Saturday, especially on Taiwan, but the war in Ukraine and a remote speech by President Volodymyr Zelenskiy dominated proceedings.
U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin earlier told the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore that Washington will do its part to manage tensions with China and prevent conflict even though Beijing was becoming increasingly aggressive in the region.
Zelenskiy, speaking via video link from an undisclosed location in Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, told the delegates that their nations’ support was crucial not just to defeat the Russian invasion, but to preserve the rules-based order.
“It is on the battlefields of Ukraine that the future rules of this world are being decided along with the boundaries of the possible,” he said.
He noted that Russia is blocking ports in the Black Sea and Azov Sea, keeping Ukrainian food exports from the world market.
“If … due to Russian blockades we are unable to export our foodstuffs, the world will face an acute and severe food crisis and famine in many countries in Asia and Africa,” he said.
China and the United States, which have clashed in recent months over everything from Taiwan and China’s human rights record to its military activity in the South China Sea, were again at odds.
Austin and Chinese Defence Minister Wei Fenghe met on Friday and reiterated they want to better manage their relationship but there was no sign of any breakthrough in resolving differences.