Joint Chiefs Chairman Milley Defends His China Interactions After Revelations Made in Woodward Book
16:51 GMT 15.09.2021 (Updated: 17:27 GMT 15.09.2021)
© REUTERS / EVELYN HOCKSTEINU.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin follows Joint Chiefs Chairman U.S. Army General Mark Milley as they arrive to discuss the end of the military mission in Afghanistan during a news conference at the Pentagon in Washington, U.S., September 1, 2021
© REUTERS / EVELYN HOCKSTEIN
An upcoming book titled "Peril", penned by Washington Post journalists Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, has claimed, according to some excerpts, that US Army Gen. Mark Milley twice contacted his Chinese counterparts, assuring them that former President Donald Trump would not order an attack against China.
Joint Chiefs Chairman Mark Milley has fired back over allegations in regard to his interactions with China that were described in a new book by Bob Woodward, saying that his contacts with Beijing were consistent with his duties.
"These conversations remain vital to improving mutual understanding of US national security interests, reducing tensions, providing clarity and avoiding unintended consequences or conflict", Milley's spokesperson Dave Butler stated. "His calls with the Chinese and others in October and January were in keeping with these duties and responsibilities conveying reassurance in order to maintain strategic stability."
According to the statement, the Joint Chiefs chairman "regularly communicates" with defence heads across the world, "including with Russia and China".
In a separate statement, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said that US President Joe Biden has "complete confidence" in Milley, particularly in the general's "leadership, his patriotism and his fidelity to our constitution".
The remarks come in light of allegations from Bob Woodward's new book "Peril", where it is said that Milley interacted with his Chinese counterpart, Li Zuocheng of the People’s Liberation Army’s headquarters, pledging to warn him in the event of a decision by former President Donald Trump to attack China.
According to excerpts from the book, Milley contacted Zoucheng twice: in October 2020 and in January 2021, assuring the Chinese top military official that the US government is "stable".
Reacting to the claims, ex-president Trump said that they were "hard to believe", noting that, if they were true, Milley's actions would amount to "treason". Trump also outlined that he "never ever thought of attacking China".
15 September, 04:14 GMT
The two never enjoyed particularly warm relations, with the former president lambasting Milley as a "woke" general after the latter said he wanted to study critical race theory more before criticising it. The Joint Chiefs chairman, however, reportedly expressed concerns that Trump would carry out a coup in order to stay in power - something that the ex-president mocked, saying he would not rely on Milley if he were actually to plan a coup.