Pentagon officials last week held talks with the Chinese military for the first time under President BidenJoe BidenSupreme Court blocks Biden’s eviction moratorium Overnight Defense & National Security: Terror in Kabul as explosions kill and injure hundreds White House: Biden ‘somber’ and ‘outraged’ after hearing of Kabul attack MORE.
Michael Chase, deputy assistant secretary of defense for China, met with Major General Huang Xueping, deputy director of the People’s Republic of China’s People’s Liberation Army Office for International Military Cooperation, according to a Pentagon readout of the meeting dated Aug. 19.
In the statement, defense spokesperson Lt. Col. Martin Meiners said Chase “reinforced Department of Defense priorities for U.S.-PRC defense relations, with a focus on preventing and managing crisis and risk,” referring to the People’s Republic of China, the country’s official name.
Chase “affirmed the U.S. vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific region, and the U.S. commitment to uphold common principles shared by allies and partners. Both sides agreed on the importance of maintaining open channels of communication between the two militaries.”
The meeting was first reported by Reuters on Friday.
Officials told the news outlet that Defense Secretary Lloyd AustinLloyd AustinOvernight Defense & National Security: Terror in Kabul as explosions kill and injure hundreds Hawley, Blackburn call for Biden to resign McCarthy calls for House to return and vote on delaying Afghanistan withdrawal MORE has not spoken with his Chinese counterpart yet, partially because there was debate about who exactly was Austin’s counterpart.
The Hill has reached out to The White House and the Pentagon for comment.
The move comes as tensions with China escalate over everything from human rights to China’s actions in the South China sea.
Vice President Harris recently took a weeklong trip through Southeast Asia. During her stop in Singapore, she rebuked China for continuing to “coerce” and “intimidate” other parties in the region.
“Beijing’s actions continue to undermine the rules-based order and threaten the sovereignty of nations. The United States stands with our allies and partners in the face of these threats.” Harris said.
President Biden has made countering China’s influence a key part of his foreign policy, with the president seeking to rally allies to help counter such influence.
Updated: 10:40 p.m.