China's defense minister General Li Shangfu said that war with the US would be an unbearable disaster for the world in his first major speech at a security summit since assuming office. He was speaking at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, the Asia-Pacific region's only annual security meeting. He added that some countries were intensifying an arms race in Asia. He also said that the two superpowers should seek common ground.

This comes in the wake of the allegations made by the US on Saturday over a Chinese destroyer near a US warship as it transited the Taiwan Strait with Canadian vessels. China criticized both countries for deliberately provoking risk. On the other hand, both the US and Canada said they were

sailing where international law allows.

Beijing had earlier rejected a US request for direct military talks in protest against the sanctions placed on Gen Li by the US in 2018 over weapons purchases from Russia. At the Summit, US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin rebuked China for refusing to hold military discussions. 

Despite the diplomatic spat, a top US state department official has arrived in Beijing for a week of wide-ranging talks. It is well known that the relations between Washington and Beijing have been strained in recent years over several issues, including China's claim over Taiwan, and territorial disputes in the South China Sea.

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