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China warns top US general off ‘arbitrary provocations’

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US General Mark Milley “discussed the need to responsibly manage competition and maintain open lines of communication”.

PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (BLOOMBERG) – US General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, spoke with his Chinese counterpart General Li Zuocheng on Thursday (July 7) in the latest sign of increased communication between Washington and Beijing.

Milley “discussed the need to responsibly manage competition and maintain open lines of communication,” according to a statement from Colonel Dave Butler, spokesman for the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

“General Milley underscored the importance of the People’s Liberation Army engaging in substantive dialogue on improving crisis communications and reducing strategic risk,” Butler said. “The call also included a productive discussion of a number of regional and global security issues.”

The statement characterised the call as part of a regular communication between Milley and defence chiefs around the world, but US-China talks have picked up ahead of an expected call between US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping as soon as this month.

In another sign of increasing dialogue, Secretary of State Antony Blinken is expected to meet with Foreign Minister Wang Yi on the sidelines of the G-20 meeting in Bali, Indonesia this weekend. US officials said they expect a “candid” exchange between the two, who have not met face-to-face since October, on issues such as the war in Ukraine.

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