Chinese, U.S. military chiefs hold crisis communication, says China defence ministry
BEIJING (Reuters) - Chinese and US military chiefs held crisis communications talks this week amid heightened tensions between the two military superpowers in the South China Sea this year, with the United States declining to report a possible drone attack.
The exchange, days before the US election, came as US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper toured Asia with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, where they urged countries to work with the United States to address China's security threats, a position which China has criticized for being a Cold War mentality and a zero-sum mindset.
Chinese and US military officials held a video conference on crisis communications on October 28 and 29, China Defense Ministry spokesman Wu Qian said Thursday.
Wu said Esper denied a US media report investigating a plan to attack Chinese islands and reefs in the South China Sea with an MQ-9 drone in case the US presidential elections were not favorable to President Donald Trump.
Esper said the United States "has no intention of creating a military crisis with the Chinese," Wu said.
"We urge the US to hold talks, keep its promise and take action to prevent the Chinese military from being provoked in the air and at sea," said Wu, adding that China is determined against the strike will proceed if provoked by an attack at sea.
Both militaries will hold a video conference on humanitarian aid and maritime safety in mid-November before the end of the year, Wu said.
(Reporting by Yew Lun Tian; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)
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