U.S. and Chinese defense officials resumed formal military talks in Washington after a more than two-year pause spurred by fractured relations over Taiwan.
The resumption of the discussions — frozen after the former U.S. House speaker visited Taipei in 2022 — was a key agreement of a November meeting between U.S. President Joe Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping.
US urges China to keep communication lines open
Michael Chase, a U.S. defense official, emphasized the importance of preventing further communication breakdowns during the two-day talks at the Pentagon. Regular military contact between the two superpowers is key to avoiding potential conflicts, he said. “The U.S. goal is to have more sustained engagement with the People’s Liberation Army to reduce the risk of accident, avoid misperceptions, and strengthen crisis communication,” Bonnie Glaser, a China expert at the German Marshall Fund, told the Financial Times.
China says it will ‘never compromise’ on Taiwan
Self-governed Taiwan, which Beijing views as a breakaway province, remained a contentious topic. The Chinese defense ministry said it would “never compromise or back down” on the island and urged Washington to “take seriously China’s concerns.” Its remarks came ahead of a pivotal presidential election in Taiwan this Saturday, which observers say could determine Beijing’s next steps for the territory. Should Taiwan’s ruling, pro-independence Democratic People’s Party win again, “it’s not going to be pretty,” one expert of East Asian and Pacific affairs told Politico.