US Navy ‘excited’ by prospect of better communication with China, but says more work needed By Reuters

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© Reuters. U.S. Navy Admiral Lisa Franchetti poses in an undated handout photo, obtained by Reuters on November 2, 2023. U.S. Department of Defense/Handout via REUTERS/ File Photo

By Greg Torode

HONG KONG (Reuters) – The U.S. Navy was “excited” by the prospect of improved operational communications with the Chinese military amid regional tensions, but work was still needed to solidify the next steps, a senior U.S. naval officer said on Friday.

Admiral Lisa Franchetti, U.S. Navy Chief of Operations, told a media briefing during a visit to Seoul that it was vital to maintain open lines of communications between the two militaries to avoid “misunderstandings and miscalculations” that could lead to conflict.

“I’m very excited and I welcome that announcement,” she said of China’s agreement to resume telephone communications between theatre commands, something U.S. officials have been eager to develop.

“These agreements were reached just recently, and we know that we have work with the PRC mil to do to solidify the next steps,” Franchetti said.

Her remarks come after agreements this month by U.S. President Joe Biden and China’s Xi Jinping to resume military contacts that Beijing froze after then-House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan in August 2022.

The need for improved military communications was part of four hours of discussions when the two leaders meet in San Francisco last week, talks that covered tensions over Taiwan, Iran and co-operation over reducing the flow to the opioid fentanyl to the United States.

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