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U.S. Chief of Staff Given Tour of Northeastern Chinese Military Base

Aug. 16, 2017 (EIRNS)—General Joseph Dunford, the chief of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was given the rare opportunity of a visit to a Chinese military base in Shenyang in northeastern China, 130 miles from the North Korean border. Dunford was able to view live-fire drills, and he lunched with the Peoples' Liberation Army (PLA) troops. The troops viewed by Dunford were part of a “combined arms brigade,” a new concept introduced into the PLA by President Xi Jinping in his wide-ranging military reforms.

Yesterday, Dunford had signed an agreement with his Chinese counterpart, General Fang Fenghui, chief of the PLA’s Joint Staff Department, to formalize an increase in communication between the U.S. and Chinese militaries. Gen. Dunford said he had held “broad-stroke discussions” about a contingency in case of conflict with North Korea and that he had stressed to his Chinese counterparts the need for robust communication ties. He declined to provide details of how the Chinese side had responded.

U.S. officials hope U.S. and Chinese military counterparts could be connected at various levels. For example, U.S. military officials said that the American commander of U.S. Forces Korea, now Gen. Vincent Brooks, should be directly in touch with the commander of Chinese forces in their Northern Theater Command, which is responsible for the North Korean border.

“The time to have some initial conversations about what a contingency on the Korean Peninsula would look like would be before the contingency occurs,”

Gen. Dunford told reporters on his plane Wednesday. But it is not clear that the Chinese would agree to such an arrangement at that level.