A senior Pentagon official held talks with the Chinese military for the first time since President Joe Biden took office in January to focus on managing risk between the two countries, a U.S. official told Reuters on Friday.
Michael Chase, deputy assistant secretary of defense for China, spoke with Chinese Major General Huang Xueping, deputy director for the People’s Liberation Army Office for International Military Cooperation, last week.
Despite the tensions and heated rhetoric, U.S. military officials have long sought to have open lines of communication with their Chinese counterparts to be able to mitigate potential flare-ups or deal with any accidents.
“(They) utilized the U.S.-PRC Defense Telephone Link today to conduct a secure video conference,” the official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity. Chase focused on “managing crisis and risk,” the official added.
In a shift from his predecessor as president, Donald Trump, Joe Biden has broadly sought to rally allies and partners to help counter what the White House says is China’s increasingly coercive economic and foreign policies.