Washington / Beijing
The glimpse of the strained relations between the United States and China is now clearly visible thanks to diplomatic courtesy. In the latest incident, US Defense Minister Lloyd Austin repeatedly called him to speak to his Chinese counterpart Wei Fenghe, but the Chinese leader did not respond. Chinese military sources said Wei Fenghe did not pick up Austin’s phone due to a violation of diplomatic protocol.
According to the South China Morning Post newspaper report published by Hong Kong, the US defense minister’s request led to a misunderstanding as he wanted to speak to the vice chairman of the China Central Military Commission, Shu Qiliang. Vice President Shu is above Wei Fenghe in the protocol. He went exasperated to the Ministry of Defense of China. Although Shu Qiliang and the Minister of Defense report directly to Chinese President Xi Jinping, according to diplomatic protocol, the US Minister of Defense should have spoken to Wei Fenghe.
“ Indignation in terms of political protocol ”
Meanwhile, US Department of Defense spokesman John Kirby said that even after that, we were ready to talk to the heads of the Chinese military. He said that we really want to talk to our counterpart in China and that we are still working on the methods of this dialogue. Kirby, however, did not respond to Chinese media reports claiming Beijing had sent Austin a friend signal, but the US official did not respond.
Chinese media said Austin would later speak to another CMC official, which is considered an insult in terms of diplomatic protocol. Let us tell you that tensions between China and America have increased dramatically on many issues, including Taiwan and the South China Sea. Recently, the US warship crossed the South China Sea, which the Chinese military strongly opposed.