U.S., China quietly hold military-to-military talks following N. Korean missile launch

High-ranking U.S. and Chinese military officers held discussions in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday following North Korea’s latest test of an upgraded ICBM experts believe is capable of reaching all of the United States.

The meeting, at the National Defense University, focused primarily on how the U.S. and Chinse militaries would communicate during a crisis on the Korean peninsula.

The discussion signaled that Beijing is now much more willing to discuss how both powers would manage a crisis involving North Korea.

The Pentagon downplayed the talks, saying they were scheduled long before Pyongyang’s latest missile test. Still, they held significance because they marked an increasing willingness from Beijing to discuss North Korea militarily, a development that began only recently.

The engagement will serve as an opportunity to discuss how to manage crises, prevent miscalculations, and reduce the risk of misunderstanding,” the office of Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in a statement.

Oriana Skylar Mastro, a Georgetown University professor, told American media that her Chinese contacts indicated there is a new willingness to broach North Korea contingencies in the military dialogue.

“Things are shifting right now in both China and the United States. There seems to be an opening,” said Mastro.

The attitude towards North Korea is shifting among some Chinese intellectuals. They note that North Korea represents a liability and a hindrance to China’s ascension, not to mention a nuclear threat on its border. [source]

Information in this article helps satisfy Priority Intelligence Requirement 2:  What is the current situation report and risk of war in each of the four flashpoints?

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Jon E. Dougherty is a political, foreign policy and national security analyst and reporter with nearly 30 years of experience in both fields. A U.S. Army veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom, he holds BA in Political Science from Ashford University and an MA in National Security Studies/Intelligence Analysis from American Military University.

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