Military leaders in the United States and China signed an agreement to improve communication between their militaries and reduce the chances of miscalculations.

Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Gen. Fang Fenghui of the Chinese army, chief of China’s joint staff, signed the joint staff dialogue mechanism at the Ba Yi, the People’s Liberation Army headquarters. Dunford is visiting China to further military-to-military ties between the two Pacific powers.

The agreement is intended for crisis mitigation, U.S. Joint Staff officials said, noting that direct communication at the three-star level in the Pentagon and the Ba Yi will “enable us to communicate to reduce the risk of miscalculation.” Army Lt. Gen. Richard D. Clarke, the Joint Staff’s director for strategic plans and policy, will lead the effort for the American military. The first meeting to set up the framework is set for November.

These communications are especially crucial now, as the region and world are facing the dangers of a nuclear-armed North Korea, officials said.

 

The mechanism is a concrete result of the military-to-military discussions the chairman is engaged in. Dunford said:

“To be honest, we have many difficult issues where we will not necessarily have the same perspectives. But from the meeting we had in Washington, D.C., and the meeting we just had, I know we share one thing: we share a commitment to work through these difficulties.

With the guidance from our presidents and the areas of our cooperation, I know we will make progress over the next few days.”

 

The military-to-military contacts between the United States and China are important because there will always be some friction between the two countries, Dunford said, adding that military contacts will lessen the chances of a miscalculation.

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