China Rejects US Military Talks: What Does This Mean for Diplomatic Relations?

China rejects military talks with US

China has refused an invitation to meet with US Defense Secretary, Lloyd Austin, in Singapore. The meeting was proposed by the US to take place on the sidelines of the Shangri-La Dialogue conference. China’s foreign ministry criticised Washington for its “wrong practices” and said that the US was “well aware” of why military discussions were not taking place. Pentagon spokesman, General Pat Ryder, said the US was committed to “seeking open lines of communication with the People’s Liberation Army”.



  • Brief explanation of China’s decision to reject US invitation for military talks in Singapore.

Details of China’s refusal

  • China blames the US for the decision to decline.
  • The PRC claims the US is well aware of why military communication is not taking place.
  • China demands “sincerity” and proper “atmosphere and conditions for dialogue” from the US.
  • A summary of the Pentagon’s response to China’s refusal.


  • The US proposed the meeting between Defense Secretary Austin and Chinese defense minister, Li Shangfu.
  • The meeting was proposed as part of the annual Shangri-La Dialogue conference in Singapore.
  • The US has made several attempts to initiate military discussions with China in recent months.
  • China has previously declined requests for talks and a dialogue remains impossible.

Potential impact of China’s refusal

  • Does China’s decision indicate high levels of tension between the two countries?
  • How might further rejection of US offers affect diplomatic relations?
  • What might the implications be for military action?


  • How has the lack of military communication impacted US-China relations previously?
  • How influential might this issue be for decision-making in both countries?
  • How might China’s decision impact discussions of other issues?


  • China’s rejection of the US invitation for military talks indicates the continued breakdown of dialogue between the two countries.
  • The failure of the US to establish communication with the People’s Liberation Army suggests further tensions on the horizon.


China has rejected a US invitation for military talks on the sidelines of the Shangri-La Dialogue conference in Singapore. The scheduled meeting between US Defense Secretary, Lloyd Austin, and his Chinese counterpart, Li Shangfu, was declined by the People’s Republic of China (PRC), who criticised Washington’s “wrong practices”.

The Chinese foreign ministry said the US was “well aware” of why it had not engaged in military communication and demanded the US show “sincerity” and create “the necessary atmosphere and conditions for dialogue and communication between the two militaries”.

Pat Ryder, spokesman for the Pentagon, said the US was committed to seeking “open lines of communication with the People’s Liberation Army”, despite China’s rejection of this most recent meeting proposal.

The failed meeting had been one of several attempts by the US to initiate military conversations with China, with a dialogue remaining impossible for the foreseeable future.

Whilst the breakdown in military communication is not a new issue between the two countries, this most recent failed attempt has raised concerns again for the future of US-China relations. With tensions high between the two military powers, the rejection of such a meeting could suggest relations have soured further.


What is the Shangri-La Dialogue?

The Shangri-La Dialogue is an annual defence summit in Singapore which sees around 500 delegates from more than 50 countries in attendance.

Why is the US seeking military discussions with China?

The US is keen to establish lines of communication with China’s military to better understand its intentions and potentially avoid conflict.

How long has communication been broken down between the US and China’s militaries?

The issue of communication breakdown between US and China’s militaries is not a new phenomenon, with previous attempts to establish dialogue failing in recent months.

What other issues might China’s rejection of talks raise?

The breakdown in military communication could have wider implications for trade and diplomatic relations.

What might happen next in the US-China relationship?

With tensions high, it’s difficult to predict the trajectory of US-China relations. However, China’s refusal to engage in military talks doesn’t suggest a clear path forward for betterment of these relations in the short-term.