The defence ministers of the United States and China were due to meet Friday in Singapore as the Shangri-La Dialogue security summit gets under way, Chinese state media said.
The talks between Wei Fenghe and Lloyd Austin will be “the first meeting between Chinese and US defence ministers since Austin took office”, state broadcaster CCTV reported.
The Shangri-La Dialogue, a forum for the world’s top military officials, diplomats and weapons firms, is being held in the southeast Asian city-state between June 10 and 12.
It is the first time the event has been held since 2019 after twice being postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
China and the US have butted heads in recent years over Beijing’s claims to almost the entire South China Sea as well as its sabre-rattling over Taiwan.
The ruling Communist Party claims democratic, self-ruled Taiwan as part of its territory and has vowed to one day seize it, by force if necessary.
More recently, the two sides have been at loggerheads over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, with Washington accusing Beijing of providing tacit support for Moscow.
China has called for talks to end the war, but has stopped short of condemning Russia’s actions and has repeatedly criticised American arms donations to Ukraine.