POLITICS

US military chief says he is hopeful about resuming military communication with China

Nov 10, 2023, 7:14 AM

TOKYO (AP) — The top U.S. military officer said Friday he has conveyed to China his hopes to resume the stalled communication between the world’s two biggest militaries.

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. CQ Brown Jr., told a selected group of journalists Friday in Tokyo that it is “hugely important” to “ensure there is no miscalculation” between the sides. He said he conveyed his desire to restart the dialogue in a letter to his Chinese counterpart.

“I’m hopeful,” Brown added.

China froze military exchanges in August 2022 when then-Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi visited self-governing Taiwan, which China claims as its own territory. The two sides have shown indications in recent weeks that they are close to resuming the exchanges.

Brown made his comment during the Tokyo leg of a trip to Asia ahead of next week’s Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, to be hosted by President Joe Biden in San Francisco. Biden will meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the meeting, the Biden administration announced later Friday.

The U.S.-China relationship has been complicated by U.S. export controls on advanced technology, the shooting down of a Chinese spy balloon that traversed the mainland United States and Chinese fury over a stopover in the U.S. by Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen earlier this year.

Brown, who was appointed to the post in September, met earlier Friday with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.

The two sides discussed further strengthening of the allies’ deterrence and response capabilities as the region faces increasing security challenges, Japan’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

The challenges include “North Korea’s intensified nuclear and missile activities, China’s unilateral change of the status quo by force, enhanced military cooperation between China and Russia around Japan, and arms transfer between Russia and the North,” the statement said.

Kishida’s government adopted a new national security strategy in December, stating Japan’s determination to build up its military power over the next five years. The plans include gaining counterstrike capability by deploying long-range cruise missiles as early as 2026— a break from Japan’s postwar self-defense-only principle — as deterrence to China’s increasingly assertive military activity in the region.

Brown welcomed Japan’s efforts to build up its military. “It’s a bit of a journey,” Brown said. “But the best part about it is first having the desire and the resources and then be willing to work together. We’ll make progress.”

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