A conflict between China and the US would be an “intolerable disaster”

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Chinese Defense Minister Li Shangfu said on Sunday that a conflict with the United States would be an “unmanageable disaster” and China calls for dialogue rather than confrontation.

Li Shangfu explained that the world is too big for China and the United States to grow together at the Shangri-La Asia-Pacific Defense and Security Dialogue Conference.

“China and the United States have many differences, especially their systems,” he said. “However, this should not deter them from seeking common ground and interests to strengthen ties and deepen cooperation.”

Li Shangfu said, “It is undeniable that a serious conflict or confrontation between China and the United States would be an intolerable disaster for the world.”

Relations between the United States and China have deteriorated significantly as the two superpowers remain deeply divided over a range of issues, from Taiwan’s sovereignty to cyber espionage and territorial disputes in the South China Sea.

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Saturday criticized China for refusing to hold talks between military officials.

Li Shangfu showed more restraint in his speech, however, accusing “some countries” of exacerbating the arms race and deliberately interfering in other countries’ internal affairs.

“A Cold War mentality is being reborn, which greatly increases security risks,” he said.

(Reporting by Chen Lin, Greg Torode; French edition by Camille Renaud)

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