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Communication Breakdown: Pentagon Official Reveals China's Silent Treatment to US Calls

  • Posted on May 26, 2023
  • News
New U.S., Chinese MIlitary Communications Agreement Follows Years of Naval Engagement

US-China military engagement:-

Ely Ratner, the assistant secretary for Indo-Pacific security affairs in the Department of Defense (DOD), expressed concern over the lack of military engagement and communication between the United States and China. 

Ratner emphasized the importance of maintaining open lines of communication to prevent misperceptions, miscalculations, and the escalation of crises. 

He mentioned that the US has repeatedly expressed its desire to engage with China at various levels, from Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin to other civilian and military officials, but their requests have either been rejected or unanswered.

China failing to answer U.S. crisis line call during balloon incident highlights "dangerous" communications gap
China failing to answer U.S. crisis line call during balloon incident highlights "dangerous" communications gap

There have been recent signs of thawing relations, particularly with National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan's meeting with Chinese Communist Party figure Wang Yi in Vienna. However, this improvement has not been extended to the military domain yet. 

Ratner emphasized that establishing and maintaining lines of communication is vital to prevent crises from going out of control. These channels would facilitate discussions on emerging domains and strategies that could have a high potential for escalation. 

Ratner stressed that these communication channels are crucial during both peaceful times and crises. They serve as mechanisms for discussing emerging domains and strategies that could have high intensifying potential. 

He also mentioned the significance of avoiding a major crisis between the US and China by establishing effective military-to-military mechanisms and dialogues, similar to those implemented during the Cold War with the Soviet Union.

Regarding the situation in the Taiwan Straits, Ratner reaffirmed that US policy has not changed. The US maintains the Taiwan Relations Act and the One China policy, aiming to maintain the status quo in the region and not support Taiwanese independence. 

However, the US also commits to providing Taiwan with defensive arms and ensuring its own capacity to resist coercion.

Ratner highlighted the importance of maintaining a twin balance in US policy. Firstly, it involves sustaining relationships with allies and partners in the region without forcing them to choose sides between the US and China. 

The US seeks to understand and support its security concerns while promoting stability. Ratner emphasized that the US is not aiming to build an anti-China coalition but is working alongside allies and partners in a rapid yet cooperative manner.

Secondly, Ratner emphasized the need for deterrence activities that do not lead to escalation or crises. Striking the right balance is crucial to maintaining deterrence while ensuring stability. Ratner stated that achieving this balance is a major focus for the US.

In conclusion, Ratner expressed the US's commitment to open lines of communication with China in the military domain to avoid misunderstandings and prevent crises from spiraling out of control. 

Despite challenges and unanswered requests, the US aims to uphold deterrence, maintain balance in its policies with allies and partners, and promote stability in the Indo-Pacific region.

Destabilizing and dangerous’: Pentagon official warns of communication breakdown with China
Destabilizing and dangerous’: Pentagon official warns of communication breakdown with China

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