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Dunford Working on U.S.-China Military Dialogue in Beijing

Aug. 15, 2017 (EIRNS)—Though the crisis surrounding North Korea is high on the agenda, Gen. Joseph Dunford, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, also discussed the U.S.-China military relationship after he arrived in Beijing, yesterday. Gen. Fang Fenghui, chief of the Joint Staff Department of the People’s Liberation Army and Dunford’s host, said Dunford’s visit was a key part of efforts to expand dialogue between the U.S. and China as agreed by Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping when they met earlier this year, reported Associated Press. To that end, China has arranged a series of important meetings and visits to help Dunford "know more about our military, (boost) our cooperation and build up our friendship," Fang said.

Dunford responded that the U.S. considered the meetings important to making progress on areas of disagreement, which he did not cite. "I think here, we have to be honest—we have many, many difficult issues where we don’t necessarily share the same perspective," Dunford said. "I know we share one thing: We share a commitment to work through these difficult issues," he said, continuing that with the guidance of political leaders "we are going to make some progress over the next few days."

According to a U.S. Defense Department (DOD) press release, Dunford and Fang signed a joint strategic dialogue mechanism at the Ba Yi, the PLA headquarters. 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." The DOD release explicitly states that the mechanism

"grew out of diplomatic and security talks in Washington earlier this year. Those talks grew out of a Florida meeting between President Donald J. Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping in April."