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US-China tensions

China-U.S. dialogue 'necessity' to avoid misunderstanding: Austin

Defense chief says 'right time to talk is now' after Beijing refuses meeting

U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin speaks at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore on June 3.   © Reuters

SINGAPORE -- U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Saturday stressed the importance of talks between his country and China, calling dialogue "a necessity" to avoid misunderstandings.

"For responsible defense leaders, the right time to talk is anytime," he said at the Asia Security Summit in Singapore. "The right time to talk is every time. And the right time to talk is now."

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