Chinese counterparts are hosted by Pentagon officials for high-level discussions

Senior military representatives from the United States and China convened at the Pentagon this week to talk about defence cooperation between the two countries.

The U.S.-People’s Republic of China Defence Policy Coordination Talks, which were last held in September 2021, officially resumed with this two-day meeting. Since January 2020, this was the first time the conversation had taken place in person.

Chinese army Maj. Gen. Song Yanchao, deputy director of China’s Military Commission Office for International Military Cooperation, was hosted by the United States delegation under the direction of Michael S. Chase, deputy assistant secretary of defence for China, Taiwan, and Mongolia. One purpose of the discussions is to lay out the schedule for future meetings between the United States and China in the remaining months of the year.

Resuming the conversations, which were previously held annually, according to U.S. defence officials, is a significant step towards reopening channels of communication between the two countries.

Chinese counterparts are hosted by Pentagon officials for high-level discussions

“Dr. Chase highlighted the importance of maintaining open lines of military-to-military communication in order to prevent competition from veering into conflict,” the summary of the conference noted.

The two parties were able to discuss regional and international security issues in this discussion.

According to the meeting report, during the conversation, Chase “reaffirmed that the United States will continue to fly, sail, and operate safely and responsibly wherever international law allows,” emphasising the significance of upholding operational safety throughout the region.

Chase also emphasised America’s dedication to its partners and allies in the Indo-Pacific area and around the world.

Concerns about China’s lack of communication with U.S. military authorities have been voiced by Defence Department officials on several occasions. They have noted that Beijing has continuously rejected or disregarded requests from the United States for defence engagements at all levels.

Following his meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping during the leaders’ meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation in San Francisco, President Joe Biden was able to obtain China’s consent to resume military-to-military talks in November.

For the first time since taking the helm, Air Force Gen. CQ Brown, Jr., the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, met with Gen. Liu Zhenli of the Chinese military last month.

Previewing this week’s negotiations, a U.S. official said that while both discussions were encouraging, more work needs to be done to restore regular military-to-military connections.

“The bottom line is that we’re going to keep working to open these lines of communication because they’re important for preventing competition to veering into conflict,” said the official.

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