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Dunford, Chinese Military Leader Speak via Video Teleconference

DoD News, Defense Media Activity

At the request of the Chinese army, Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, spoke yesterday via video teleconference with Gen. Fang Fenghui, chief of the Chinese joint staff department.

“The video connection was lauded by both as a valuable channel of communication and means to exchange views, manage both cooperative and contentious issues, and avoid miscalculation,” Joint Staff spokesman Navy Capt. Greg Hicks said in a statement today announcing the call.

This was the first interaction between the two leaders since Dunford became chairman in October, Hicks said.

Dunford acknowledged the areas of cooperation in the bilateral relationship, as well as the stability in the military-to-military relationship, Hicks said. “He delivered key messages regarding U.S. commitment to uphold the rules-based international order, defend U.S. allies and interests in the South China Sea, while affirming a desire to avoid confrontation,” he added.

Cooperation in Ensuring Peace

Both sides expressed the importance and urgency of cooperation in ensuring peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and commitment to denuclearization, Hicks said.

“Additionally,” he said, “General Dunford expressed appreciation for recent progress in military-to-military exchanges and conveyed that although differences exist between the U.S. and China, keeping open lines of communication was essential to managing those differences.”

Dunford proposed an effort to bolster risk reduction mechanisms within the military-to-military relationship to better manage these difficult issues, the Joint Staff spokesman said.

“General Dunford and General Fang both expressed a wish to use the video teleconference connection more frequently to address key issues,” he added, “and General Dunford affirmed that if called, ‘someone will answer and listen.’"