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U.S. fires up Asian allies but makes no progress on China talks

As Shangri-La Dialogue ends, new tensions arise in the Taiwan Strait

From left, Japanese Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and South Korean Defense Minister Lee Jong-sup before their trilateral meeting at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore on June 3.   © U.S. Department of Defense

SINGAPORE -- From hosting the inaugural four-way defense ministers meeting with Japan, Australia and the Philippines, to launching a real-time intelligence-sharing mechanism with Tokyo and Seoul, U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin made strides in defense cooperation with allies during the three-day Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore.

But those gains were overshadowed by a lack of progress in reestablishing open lines of communication with China. The closest engagement with the visitors from Beijing was a five-second handshake with Chinese Defense Minister Gen. Li Shangfu before dinner on Friday. The two almost had no choice but to shake hands, being seated at the same table.

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