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US-China Military Talks Resume After 2 Years

US-China Military Talks Resume After 2 Years

In a significant diplomatic development, U.S. and Chinese defense officials have rekindled dialogue after a nearly two-year hiatus.

The focus? Unsafe and aggressive incidents involving ships and aircraft in the Pacific region. This resumption of military-to-military contact comes as both nations grapple with escalating tensions and seek avenues for communication.

The frosty relations between Washington and Beijing trace back to August 2022, when China abruptly suspended all military communication channels.

The catalyst? Then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, the self-governing island that China claims as its own.

The ensuing silence left critical safety concerns unaddressed, exacerbating the delicate balance of power in the region. The ice began to melt last November when U.S. President Joe Biden and China’s President Xi Jinping met during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in San Francisco. Their tête-à-tête signaled a renewed commitment to dialogue.

A month later, Gen. CQ Brown, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, engaged in a groundbreaking video call with his Chinese counterpart—the first senior military-to-military contact since Pelosi’s visit. This week’s face-to-face meeting in Hawaii marked a pivotal moment. Senior military and civilian officials from both sides convened to discuss specific incidents that raised operational safety concerns.

The China-U.S. Military Maritime Consultative Agreement took center stage, addressing unsafe and unprofessional encounters between American and Chinese forces at sea. Simultaneously, the bilateral Defense Policy Coordination Talks delved into broader policy issues. “Open, direct, and clear communications with the PLA—and with all other military forces in the region—is of utmost importance to avoid accidents and miscommunication,” emphasized Army Col. Ian Francis, head of the U.S. delegation.

​This resumption of military talks signifies more than just dialogue; it’s a step toward stability. As the world watches, the U.S. and China navigate their complex relationship—one fraught with competition, cooperation, and shared responsibilities. The hope? That open channels will prevent misunderstandings and foster a safer Pacific for all.