WASHINGTON — Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan is slated to meet with his Chinese counterpart in Singapore next week, according to a senior defense official.
The meeting, which is expected to take place on the sidelines of the Shangri-La Dialogue defense summit, comes as the world's two largest economies exchange tit-for-tat tariffs in an ongoing trade war.
"We're doing a pull aside with the Chinese counterpart at Shangri-La," said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
The official said this is the first time since 2011 that the Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe will be at the defense summit, having in recent years sent lower level officials.
The meeting plans come as the U.S. seeks to persuade partners to ban Huawei products from 5G telecommunications networks, warning that the Chinese technology poses a national security risk.
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford has previously said that if U.S. allies proceed with Huawei's equipment, intelligence cooperation could be undermined.
"One of the things that underlines an alliance is the ability to share information, and when we share information with allies and partners we have to have common standards of information assurance," Dunford told a House Appropriations subcommittee earlier this month. "We have to be sure that our secrets are protected, whether it be intelligence or technology transfer."
Echoing Dunford's sentiments, Shanahan told lawmakers at the hearing that "China aims to steal its way to a China-controlled global technological infrastructure, including 5G."
"Huawei exemplifies the Chinese Communist Party's systemic, organized and state-driven approach to achieve global leadership in advanced technology," he said.
Last year, the Pentagon halted sales of Huawei and ZTE mobile phones and modems on military bases around the world due to potential security risks.
"These devices may pose an unacceptable risk to the department's personnel and mission," wrote Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Dave Eastburn. The Pentagon reaffirmed Wednesday its policy on banning the devices still stands.