Amid rising tensions in South China Sea, the top military brass of US and China held talks.
Shailesh Kumar, National Defence
New Delhi, 22 December 2023
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Air Force Gen. CQ Brown, Jr. held talks today with his Chinese military counterpart, People’s Liberation Army Gen. Liu Zhenli, for the first time since Brown became chairman. According to US Department of Defense, the two leaders discussed a range of global and regional security issues as Brown reaffirmed the importance of maintaining open lines of military-to-military communications. According to official Chinese military statement during video talks that were scheduled at the invitation of Gen Brown, Chinese General Liu emphasized that the Taiwan question is purely China’s internal affair, which brooks no foreign interference, and the Chinese military will resolutely defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity. The US should earnestly respect China’s territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests in the South China Sea, be prudent in its words and deeds, and take concrete actions to safeguard regional peace and stability as well as the overall interests of the China-US relations.
Earleir, both countries military top brass had discussion in July 2022. Defense officials have repeatedly raised concerns over China’s lack of communication with U.S. military leaders, noting that Beijing has consistently denied or ignored U.S. requests for defense engagements at multiple levels. Those concerns have been amplified as U.S. officials observe increasingly provocative and risky behavior on the part of China’s military. Defense officials have noted a steep rise in China’s risky and aggressive intercepts of U.S. aircraft operating in international airspace in accordance with international law. According to the most recent China Military Power Report, the U.S. has documented more than 180 coercive and risky air intercepts against U.S. aircraft in the region between 2021 and 2023. That is more risky intercepts in the past two years than in the past decade.
President Joe Biden secured China’s agreement to return to military-to-military talks last month following his meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping during APEC, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Leaders’ Meeting in San Francisco. The two presidents also discussed resuming bilateral efforts to combat global illicit drug manufacturing and trafficking, including fentanyl. They also discussed the need to address the risks of advanced artificial intelligence systems and improve artificial intelligence safety.