As China continues its snap military drills around Taiwan in retaliation to US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s provocative visit to the island this week, top Chinese military officials are refusing to return calls from their counterparts at the Pentagon, according to POLITICO.
Beijing allegedly rejected several calls from Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Joint Chiefs Chair Gen. Mark Milley in recent days, according to “three people with knowledge of the attempts”.
Milley’s last confirmed contact with China’s Chief of the Joint Staff, Gen. Li Zuocheng, came on July 7, while Austin met with Chinese Defense Minister Gen. Wei Fenghe in person back in June.
On Friday, Beijing decided to cut diplomatic ties with Washington in a number of military and civilian areas.
China’s Foreign Ministry released a list of issues on which there will no longer be communication between Chinese and American officials, including military contacts on the level of theater commanders and wider defense policy coordination talks.
China also suspended consultations on maritime security, cooperation on the repatriation of illegal migrants, legal assistance on criminal matters, fighting against transnational crime and drug trafficking, as well as talks on climate change, it said in a statement.
While not commenting on the reported break in top-level military communications, the White House said China’s recent moves increase the “risk of miscalculation and misperception”, even as National Security Council Spokesperson John Kirby insisted it “does not completely eliminate the opportunities for senior members of our military to talk”.
“You have this much military hardware operating in confined areas, it’s good, especially now, to have those lines of communication open,” Kirby said on Friday.
Beijing launched “unprecedented” military exercises and live-fire drills in six maritime areas around Taiwan on Thursday in response to Nancy Pelosi’s brief visit…