US military leaders maintain open lines of communication, even with potential adversaries such as China. , strives to prevent accidents and other miscalculations. into a full-blown conflict.
However, according to the Pentagon, the last time Millie called his Chinese counterpart, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Li Zuocheng, was on July 7. In a secure video conference call, the two spoke about the need to maintain open lines of communication and mitigate risks, according to materials from Millie's office. Meanwhile, Austin met Defense Minister Wei Fenghe in person on the sidelines of the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore in June.
"The Department of Defense has repeatedly stressed the importance of a fully open line of communication with China's defense leaders, ensuring that we can avoid miscalculations and that it is now It's still true," Todd Breasseale, acting Pentagon spokesman, told his POLITICO. on mail.
China announced on Friday that it was suspending certain official dialogues among high-level US military commanders, includingregional commanders, as well as talks on maritime security. The announcement did not specifically apply to Austin and Millie's counterparts, and officials said they were still open to communication between those leaders.White House spokesperson John Kirby said the announcement "does not completely eliminate the opportunity for senior members of the military to speak", but it does increase the risk of accidents.
"These means of communication are really important in reducing the risk of miscalculations and misunderstandings," Kirby said Friday. “There is so much military hardware operating in a limited area. It is good that these lines of communication are open, especially now.”It is conducting exercises that have broken multiple precedents and fundamentally changed the status quo in the region. Beijing this week fired missiles at Taiwanese territory, including one that appeared to have flown over the island, and sent ships and aircraft across the centerline that separates Taiwan's territorial waters from mainland China.
Although not officially recognizing Taiwan's independence, the United States, which sells weapons to the island, announced on April 1, 2001 that the US Navy EP-3 intelligence plane and China's Her J -8 fighter jets collided mid-air, sparking an international conflict.
The risk of such incidents is increasing. China has recently stepped up its aggressive activities in the Pacific, particularly in the East and South China Seas, alarming U.S. officials. Chinese aircraft and ships have been yelling and harassing U.S. and allied pilots, including a"dangerous" interceptionby a U.S. special operations C-130 aircraft in June.
However, experts said the suspension of military dialogue, while important, would not be unprecedented.
"Historically, this has definitely been part of the strategy," he said. "Mil-mil [telecommunications] have historically been marginal when they have problems with China."
But Kirby called the move "irresponsible" amid mounting tensions.
"We consider it irresponsible to shut down military communication channels at any level, to any extent, and in times of crisis," Kirby said. I was.