The US and Chinese militaries held talks on air and maritime operational security for the first time since 2021, the Pentagon said on Friday, as Washington and Beijing continue their efforts to ease tensions and keep their rivalry in check.

The two-day meeting through Thursday took place in Hawaii, based on an agreement reached between President Joe Biden and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping in mid-November near San Francisco to reopen direct military-to-military talks at various levels, according to the Command US Indo-Pacific.

The Military Maritime Consultative Agreement working group talks were held between representatives of the command, U.S. Pacific Fleet and U.S. Pacific Air Forces, and their Chinese military counterparts.

According to the US command, the representatives reviewed some specific security-related cases in recent years and discussed how best to ensure “the safety and professionalism of maritime and air operations.”

“The United States will continue to operate safely and professionally in the Indo-Pacific as long as international law allows, and we take this responsibility very seriously,” Army Col. Ian Francis, director of Northeast Asian affairs for the US, said in a statement. command.

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Francis, who led the American delegation, added that “open, direct and clear communications” with the Chinese military, as well as with the rest of the forces in the region, “are of the utmost importance to avoid accidents and communication errors.”

The last time the United States and China held talks in this framework, which dates back to 1998, was in December 2021, meeting virtually.

Despite numerous areas of contention, the two world powers have recognized the need to prevent competition from turning into direct conflict.

High-level military communication channels had been closed since Beijing shut them down in protest of a visit to Taiwan in August 2022 by then-Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi.

Representatives reviewed some specific cases related to security in recent years

China claims Taiwan as part of its territory and often stages shows of force by sending warships and fighter jets near the self-ruled democratic island.

Since the Biden-Xi summit, according to senior US officials, the number of unsafe military interactions between the United States and China has reduced significantly.

But the Chinese military continues to be aggressive against Taiwan, as well as against the Philippines in the South China Sea, where Beijing claims sovereignty over almost the entire body of water.


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