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Austin Urges United Front in Asia to Stop Repeat of Ukraine

  • US defense chief addresses key regional security conference
  • Vows to push back against ‘more coercive and aggressive’ China
Lloyd Austin in Washington, D.C. on May 3.

Lloyd Austin in Washington, D.C. on May 3.

Photographer: Amanda Andrade-Rhoades/The Washington Post
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US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin vowed to help Asian nations push back against what he said was Chinese “bullying,” describing the efforts as necessary to prevent a repeat of the Ukraine crisis in the Pacific. 

Austin used a speech to Asia’s biggest security conference Saturday in attempt to reassure the region it was at the “heart of American grand strategy,” despite the European conflict consuming US attention and resources. In his first address to the IISS Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, he repeatedly drew comparisons between Russian actions and China’s “more coercive and aggressive approach” to its own territorial claims.