The defense ministers of the United States and China will hold direct talks in Singapore

Lloyd Austin / Photo EPA-EFE/RONALD WITTEK

The defense chiefs of the United States and China are to hold direct talks in Singapore this weekend, offering hope for further military dialogue aimed at preventing the dispute from spiraling out of control, US media reported.

The expected meeting between Lloyd Austin of the US and Dong Yun at the Shangri-La Dialogue will be the first substantive face-to-face conversation between their countries' defense chiefs in 18 months.

The Security Forum is an annual gathering of defense chiefs from around the world, which in recent years has become a barometer of relations between the United States and China.

This year's edition, starting Friday, will come a week after China held military exercises around Taiwan.

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