President Joe Biden is expected to soon announce that military communications between the U.S. and China will resume in the near future.
Axios reported this week that the joint announcement is anticipated to be made with Biden and Xi Jinping, the president of China, when the two world leaders meet at the APEC summit, which is scheduled to be held in late November.
The media outlet cited three people who are familiar with the discussions. It reported that the Biden administration is interested in establishing some stability in the country’s relationship with China, and ultimately lower the potential risk for a major misunderstanding between the two military powers.
China suspended the communication channels between the two countries’ militaries last year after Nancy Pelosi, who was then serving as Speaker of the House, visited Taiwan. China considers Taiwan to be part of their country, while the U.S. and many western nations consider it to be a sovereign state.
The Biden administration now considers re-establishing those communication channels as a major priority moving forward.
Antony Blinken, the U.S. Secretary of State, visited China back in June, but failed to forge an agreement to re-establish those channels.
It now seems that China is open to such an arrangement. Wang Yi, the foreign minister of China, visited Washington, D.C., last week an indicated China was willing to re-open those military lines of communication.
Neither the White House nor the Chinese embassy to the U.S. commented on the matter, according to Axios. But, it’s obvious that this is the direction the two nations are moving in.
Bonnie Glaser, who serves as the managing director of the Indo-Pacific Program run at the German Marshall Fund of the United States, told Axios:
“The Chinese are signaling that they will resume military-to-military communications, which is significant. It’s a key priority for the Pentagon.
“But, it remains to be seen whether they are willing to make meaningful steps to reduce the risk of accidents or discuss ways to preserve strategic stability.”
Some of the communications channels that China canceled last year include the Maritime Military Communications Agreement as well as the Defense Policy Coordination Talks, which originally were signed between China and the U.S. back in 1998. Those agreements enabled operators of aircrafts and ships from each country to regularly communicate.
China has yet to officially confirm the summit between Biden and Xi, though, and the country hasn’t even confirmed that Xi will be attending the APEC summit, which is going to be held in San Francisco.
That being said, there are many signs that China is interested in re-opening the communications channels. He Lifeng, the vice premier of China, is scheduled to travel to the U.S. and meet with Janet Yellen, the U.S. Treasury Secretary. He is also scheduled to participate at the APEC summit.
It’s not as if Biden and Xi have made no progress, either. The two met at the G-20 summit in November of 2022 and pledged to establish closer communications between the two countries.