U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown spoke today by video teleconference with his Chinese counterpart, Chief of the PLA Joint Staff Department Gen. Liu Zhenli. It was not only Brown’s first discussion with his Chinese counterpart since he assumed office in September, but the first U.S.-China high-level military contact in more than a year.
The Pentagon readout reported: “General Brown discussed the importance of working together to responsibly manage competition, avoid miscalculations, and maintain open and direct lines of communication. General Brown reiterated the importance of the People’s Liberation Army engaging in substantive dialogue to reduce the likelihood of misunderstandings. General Brown reaffirmed the importance of holding the bilateral Defense Policy Coordination Talks, holding Military Maritime Consultative Agreement talks, and opening lines of communication between the Commander of United States Indo-Pacific Command and the commanders of the PLA Eastern and Southern Theater Commands.”
A senior military official, speaking to Pentagon reporters on background, said the call was a direct result of the meeting between President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping at the APEC summit in San Francisco last month, at which they agreed to rebuild military-to-military contacts. “It’s one step, an important step, but it’s not the last step, and that’s why we’re continuing to have working-level discussions with [China] about future engagements to make sure that we deliver on what President Biden and Chairman Xi agreed to in November,” the official said.