First call between top US, China military generals in over one year

Biden administration has been appealing to Beijing to resume military ties, reduce tensions

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Military ties between the US and China resumed on Thursday as the two country’s top generals held their first call, ending an almost two-year hiatus between the two archrivals.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. CQ Brown spoke with his Chinese counterpart via video call on Thursday morning, their first since Gen. Brown took over for Gen. Mark Milley.

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

The two military leaders discussed a number of global and regional security issues.

The United States is also looking to lure China into the US-led naval task force in the Red Sea, where Iran-backed Houthi attacks on commercial vessels have disrupted maritime trade routes since the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel.

China severed military ties with the US after being irked by former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan and Washington’s boost in support for Taipei.

After months of tensions, the top US diplomat was scheduled to visit China but a Chinese spy balloon over the US postponed those plans.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken eventually traveled to China as the Biden administration moved to sweep the spy balloon incident under the rug.

That prepped the stage for a meeting between President Joe Biden and Xi Jinping in California last month where the two agreed to resume military ties.

During their call on Thursday, the top US military general reaffirmed the importance of holding the bilateral Defense Policy Coordination Talks as well as Military Maritime Consultative Agreement talks.

Gen. Brown also called for opening the lines of communication between the US commander for the Indo-Pacific and his Chinese counterparts.

“The Chairman regularly communicates with Chiefs of Defense across the world and remains open to constructive dialogue with the PRC,” the call readout said.

Read more: ‘Shock’ management key to US-China stability: Janet Yellen

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