High-Level Call Between US And China Military Chiefs Preceding Pelosi’s Taiwan Trip

After months of hostility and acrimonious quiet, top-level U.S.-Chinese communications have resumed. General Liu Zhenli, the head of the Joint Staff Department of the Central Military Commission in the People’s Liberation Army, communicated with General Charles “CQ” Brown Jr., the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, on Thursday morning.

“At the highest levels, we have made it abundantly evident how important it is to establish military-to-military contacts with the PRC. But, a senior U.S. official told Fox News of the call, “It’s just one step, an important step, but it’s not the last step.”

The official went on to say, “And that’s why we’re continuing to have working-level discussions with the PRC about future engagements to make sure that we deliver on what President Biden and Chairman Xi agreed to in November.”

A U.S. readout of the conversation on Thursday stated that the two leaders “discussed several global and regional security issues.”

High-Level Call Between US And China Military Chiefs Preceding Pelosi's Taiwan Trip (1)

“Gen. Brown discussed the importance of working together to responsibly manage competition, avoid miscalculations, and maintain open and direct lines of communication,” the United States stated. “Gen. Brown reiterated the importance of the People’s Liberation Army engaging in substantive dialogue to reduce the likelihood of misunderstandings.”

Following Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s travel to the island of Taiwan in August 2022, there was a decline in mutual understanding between the two countries. However, high-level interactions have again been restored.

China promptly terminated several diplomatic initiatives, including the kinds of phone conversations that were resumed this week. China fiercely asserts sovereignty over Taiwan despite the island’s autonomous government.

In July 2022, then-Chairman General Mark Milley spoke with his counterpart over the phone in the final exchange at this level.

The official, in an interview with Fox News, credited President Biden’s repeated efforts to reach out to Chinese Communist Party leader Xi Jinping for the change in attitude.

High-Level Call Between US And China Military Chiefs Preceding Pelosi's Taiwan Trip (2)

Last month, during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation conference, Biden had a meeting with Xi. Following their initial face-to-face encounter in Bali, Indonesia in November 2022, they decided that increased direct communication between Chinese and American leadership was ideal.

The American official told Fox News, “It’s important to reopen the communications.” “We need to have these kinds of conversations to try to prevent misinterpretations or incorrect calculations. Naturally, one of the most important parts of that is having those open lines of communication.”

“We see tomorrow’s call as an important step in this process, but it’s not the only step,” he said in closing. Additionally, there is still work that has to be done on this front.

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