After refusing to meet with his US counterpart, general says ‘some countries’ interfering in others’ business but Beijing does not seek confrontation

China’s defence minister, Li Shangfu, has said a cold war mentality is resurgent in the Asia-Pacific region, but Beijing seeks dialogue over confrontation. The remarks came after Li refused to formally meet the US defence secretary, Lloyd Austin, at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore.

Speaking at the dialogue, Asia’s top security summit, on Sunday, Li took thinly veiled digs at the United States, repeating familiar grievances and accusing “some countries” of intensifying an arms race and interfering in the internal affairs of others.