The US defense secretary will visit Cambodia, one of China’s closest allies, after regional talks

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is scheduled to make an official visit to Cambodia, one of China’s closest allies in Southeast Asia, after holding talks with his Chinese counterpart at an annual security conference in Singapore, officials said.

A U.S. Defense Department statement issued in Washington on Friday said Austin would travel next week to Singapore, Cambodia and France.

He will visit Cambodia June 4 after attending the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore. Among the talks he is planning there is one with his Chinese counterpart Adm. Dong Jun, the Defense Department said. The encounter would be part of an effort to patch up ties that have deteriorated over Beijing’s aggressive policies toward Taiwan and its vast territorial claims in the South China Sea.

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