The US seeks to continue military dialogue with Beijing

President Biden’s top military adviser has told China that the United States is open to restoring military-to-military communications that Beijing suspended last year in protest over then-President Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan.

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr., told reporters Friday that reestablishing military dialogue between the world’s two most powerful militaries is a goal of the Biden administration and that he had sent a letter to his Chinese counterpart, Gen. Liu Zhenli, “to say that I’d love to do that.”

“We’ll see how it comes together,” General Brown said. “I hope so.”

The letter comes ahead of a meeting between President Biden and China’s top leader, Xi Jinping, on the sidelines of next week’s Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit. US officials hope that the two leaders will announce the continuation of the military dialogue there.

General Brown, who is traveling to the Asia-Pacific region this week, said reopening the communication channel was important to prevent misunderstandings that could escalate into crises. “Just to make sure that there are no miscalculations in that dialogue is very important to me,” he said during a press briefing.

A Pentagon report last month said China was continuing to build its strategic nuclear arsenal and had most likely amassed 500 nuclear warheads by May, an increase of about 100 from last year’s estimate.

The report accused China’s military of taking increasingly dangerous actions to deter US forces in the Asia-Pacific region, including what the US Indo-Pacific Command called “coercive and risky” maneuvers in the skies above the South China Sea to intimidate US military aircraft.

China’s military is in the midst of political upheaval: Defense Minister General Li Shangfu was sacked last month in the latest national security purge in Beijing. There has been speculation among military analysts that General Brown’s colleague, General Liu, could become the country’s next defense minister.

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