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'Unprofessional and unfriendly': US, China in row over diplomatic protocol

WION Web Team
BeijingUpdated: May 26, 2021, 08:47 PM IST

Photograph:(AFP)

Story highlights

The Global Times report quoting a source said Austin's move to seek out Qiliang "exceeded the demand of diplomatic etiquette".

China's state-run Global Times has said that government officials had sent a "friendly signal" to US defence secretary Lloyd Austin for talks but the top US official had resorted to "unprofessional" and "unfriendly act of disregarding diplomatic protocol".

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The Global Times quoting the Financial Times said Austin made three requests to speak to Xu Qiliang but "China refused to engage".  The report added that Financial Times had accused China of "complicating bilateral relations by denying the talk requests", however, it said the allegation was "untrue".

Reports claimed Austin's attempt to connect with Xu Qiliang who is close to President Xi Jinping instead of  Wei Fenghe who is the minister of defence was not looked at favourably in some quarters within the Communist Party.

The Global Times report quoting a source said Austin's move to seek out Qiliang "exceeded the demand of diplomatic etiquette". However, reports said Pentagon had confirmed that Austin has not connected with China's top military officials.  

US and China have been clashing over the South China Sea issue including the Taiwan issue with Chinese jets repeatedly entering Taipei's airspace.

China views US ships passing through Taiwan Straits as threats to its sovereignty, however, the US has said it has been following the principle of "freedom of navigation".

On Thursday, a US naval destroyer passed through the Parcel islands claimed by China as Chinese officials condemned the move.

The US Seventh Fleet in a statement defended the move, saying: "The United States challenges excessive maritime claims around the world regardless of the identity of the claimant."

"The ships' transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the US commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific. The United States military will continue to fly, sail and operate anywhere international law allows," the US 7th Fleet asserted.