President Joe Biden will be asking Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday to restore military-to-military contacts that were severed last year, White House national security advisor Jake Sullivan said Sunday.

In June, China rebuffed Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s request to resume those contacts, although Blinken said he repeatedly asked China to do so, according to CNBC.

China formally severed regular armed forces contacts in August 2022 after then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan, according to The Associated Press. The visit was seen as giving official sanction to the existence of self-governing Taiwan, which China claims is actually part of its country.

Sullivan said getting China to say yes to the contacts “has been a priority for President Biden. He believes that having military-to-military communication is necessary to manage competition responsibly, and to ensure that competition does not turn into conflict,” according to CBS.

Sullivan said regular contacts can avoid “mistakes or miscalculations or miscommunication.”

“I’m not going to get ahead of any announcements that the president might make coming out of the meeting. But I will say the president is determined to see the re-establishment of military-to-military ties because he believes it’s in the U.S. national security interest,” Sullivan said.

Biden is expected to meet Xi on Wednesday in San Francisco during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, according to Reuters. It will be their second face-to-face meeting.

The AP noted that since 2021, China has rebuffed Department of Defense outreach on multiple occasions.

China has said it is miffed because of sanctions imposed on now-former Defense Minister Li Shangfu after China bought fighter jets and missile defense components from Russia.

“The U.S. side is surely aware of why there is difficulty in military-to-military exchanges,” Yang Tao, a Chinese Foreign Ministry official overseeing North American affairs, said in June after Blinken walked away from a visit to Beijing empty-handed, according to the AP.

“One of the reasons is unilateral sanctions against the Chinese side. They first need to remove impediments and create conditions for military-to-military cooperation,” he said.

Former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley, a contender for the Republican presidential nomination, published a social media post Friday urging the Biden administration to stand strong against Beijing.

In June, Shi Yinhong, an international relations professor at Beijing’s Renmin University, said China does not want to offer guarantees that it will avoid conflict, according to the South China Morning Post.

“China has resisted giving such absolute assurances because it fears that it would amount to letting the US keep boosting its support for Taiwan,” Shi said, according to the newspaper.

Shi predicted that without changes from the U.S. side,  “China would probably never agree to resume military-to-military communications between the two countries.

Chinese Lt. Gen. He Lei has said the refusal to lift sanctions on Li and America’s “attempts to intervene in the Taiwan issue” are reasons China has rejected calls to resume contacts, the South China Morning Post reported.


This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

Jack Davis, The Western Journal

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