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U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin has reiterated Washington’s commitment to its allies, partners and like-minded countries in the Indo-Pacific region — which he labeled the “center of strategic gravity” — amid concerns that a crisis similar to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine could erupt in Asia.

In a speech held Saturday at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, Austin singled out the situation in the Taiwan Strait, reiterating that while Washington does not support Taiwanese independence, it is seeing “growing coercion from Beijing.”

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