During a meeting among military representatives, China urged the United States to cease arming Taiwan, as announced by Beijing’s Ministry of Defence on Wednesday.

The discussions unfolded in Washington over Monday and Tuesday, coinciding closely with Taiwan’s upcoming presidential and parliamentary elections on Saturday. Taiwan, an independent entity since 1949 with over 23 million inhabitants and a thriving democracy, stands in contrast to China’s perspective, which perceives Taiwan as an integral part of its territory, aiming for reunification even through force if necessary.

The outcome of Taiwan’s elections could significantly shape the dynamics between Washington and Beijing. US support for Taiwan remains a pivotal point of contention between these two nuclear powers.

Notably, direct communication between Beijing and Washington’s defence policymakers had only recently resumed a few months ago after a freeze triggered by US sanctions against former Chinese defence minister Li Shangfu.

China expressed in Washington its commitment to fostering “healthy and stable relations between the armed forces,” as per the ministry statement from Beijing.

The US stressed the importance of maintaining open communication channels to prevent bilateral competition from escalating into conflict. Additionally, the US raised concerns about what it labeled as Chinese “harassment” of Philippine vessels amid the ongoing territorial dispute over reefs in the South China Sea between China and the Philippines.