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According to Reuters


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© Reuters. A TV screen shows the People’s Liberation Army of China starting military exercises, including live-fire firing in the waters and airspace near Taiwan, in Hong Kong, China, Aug. year 2022. REUTERS / Tyrone Siu

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By Greg Torode

HONG KONG (Reuters) – China’s cutting of some communications with the US military raises the risk of inadvertent escalation of tensions over Taiwan at a critical time, security analysts say and American officials.

China suspended formal negotiations that had been planned regarding theater-level orders, defense policy coordination and military-maritime consultations on Friday as part of a retaliatory blow against China. US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan this week.

In an editorial on Saturday, the Communist Party’s People’s Daily described the response, along with sanctions against Pelosi and her family, as “effective measures that have proven to be sufficient.” enough that China is fully determined and capable of defending national unity and safeguarding … sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

Christopher Twomey, a security scholar at the US Naval Postgraduate School in California, told Reuters the severing of communications links was worrying, coming at a time when he believes it is the beginning beginning of a new Taiwan crisis.

China fired ballistic missiles at Taipei as part of an unprecedented four-day military exercise around the island it claims as its own – exercises that will end at noon on Sunday.

“This increased force density, against the backdrop of the growing crisis, raises the prospect of an inadvertent escalation that neither side wants,” Twomey said separately.

“That’s exactly when you want more opportunities to talk to the other side… The loss of those channels greatly reduces the ability of the two sides to de-conflict military forces during exercises. and various operations continue.”

As China’s warships, fighter jets and drones maneuver around Taiwan, at least 4 powerful US ships, including the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan, amphibious assault ship The USS Tripoli and the guided-missile cruiser USS Antietam are east of Taiwan, Reuters confirmed.

DO NOT RECEIVE CALLS

Bonnie Glaser, a Washington-based security analyst with the Marshall Fund of the United States, said more broadly, the outlook is “extremely low for holding talks on measures to mitigate risk or stability.” determined”.

Over time, she said she hoped specific talks postponed this week would resume but “right now, China must signal toughness and determination”.

An unnamed US official said Chinese officials did not return calls from senior Pentagon officials this week but that it was seen as China expressing displeasure about the trip. Pelosi rather than cutting the channel between senior defense officials, including US Defense. Secretary Lloyd Austin. [L1N2ZH19D]

Austin pushed for improved communication between rival forces when he met Chinese Defense Minister General Wei Fenghe on the sidelines of the Shangri-la Dialogue security meeting in Singapore in June.

Asian and Western diplomats both say US military chiefs have been pushing for more frequent theater-level command talks for some time, given China’s growing deployment across the region. Asia, where the US navy has traditionally been the dominant power.

The Pentagon on Friday said China had overreacted and that the United States remained ready to build crisis communication mechanisms.

“Part of this overreaction has been to severely limit defense activities when any responsible nation recognizes that we need them most,” Pentagon spokesman Todd Breasseale said.



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