Analysts and officials claim that abandoning U.S.-China military discussions increases risk at a risky moment. from Reuters

Reuters. On August 5, 2022, a TV in Hong Kong, China, displays the start of military drills by the People’s Liberation Army of China, involving live gunfire over the waters and in the skies near Taiwan. Tyrone Siu for Reuters Gregory Torode

Reuters: HONG KONG According to security analysts, diplomats, and U.S. officials, China’s cutting of some of its few communication channels with the U.S. military increases the potential of an unintentional escalation of conflict over Taiwan at a crucial time.

In response for U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s travel to Taiwan this week, China canceled official meetings involving theater-level commands, defense policy coordination, and military maritime consultations on Friday.

The response and the sanctions against Pelosi and her family were described as “effective measures that fully demonstrate that China is fully determined and capable of safeguarding national unity and safeguarding… sovereignty and territorial integrity” in an editorial published on Saturday by the People’s Daily newspaper of the Communist Party.

According to Christopher Twomey, a security expert at the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School in California, the loss of communication links comes at a dangerous time since it could signal the start of a fresh Taiwan crisis.

In the course of four days of extraordinary military exercises near the island it claims as its own, China launched ballistic missiles over Taipei. The drills are scheduled to end at noon on Sunday.

Speaking in private, Twomey added, “This increasing density of forces, in the context of a developing crisis, enhances the risk for unintentional escalation that neither side wants.

“At that exact moment, you would want to have more possibilities to speak with the opposing side. The ability of the two sides to de-conflict armed forces as various exercises and operations continue is significantly reduced if those channels are lost.”

At least four formidable American ships, including the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan, the amphibious assault ship USS Tripoli, and the guided missile cruiser USS Antietam, are east of Taiwan, according to Reuters, as Chinese warships, fighter fighters, and drones maneuver near Taiwan.


General prospects for convening negotiations on stability or risk reduction, according to Bonnie Glaser of the German Marshall Fund of the United States in Washington, were “very poor.”

She stated that she anticipated the specific conversations that were canceled this week would restart eventually, but for now, “China needs to display firmness and resolution.”

According to a U.S. official who spoke on the condition of anonymity, Chinese officials have not returned calls from senior Pentagon officials this week, but that is thought to be more of China expressing its displeasure with Pelosi’s visit than a break in relations between senior defense officials, including Lloyd Austin, of the United States. {L1N2ZH19D}

When Austin met with the Chinese Defense Minister General Wei Fenghe in Singapore in June for the Shangri-La Dialogue security forum, Austin pressed for increased communication between the opposing forces.

The U.S. military chiefs have pushed for more frequent theater-level command meetings for some time, according to both Western and Asian officials, given China’s expanding deployments around Asia, where the U.S. navy has historically had the dominating position.

On Friday, the Pentagon stated that China was overreacting and that the US was still open to developing crisis communication systems.

According to acting Pentagon spokesman Todd Breasseale, “part of this overreaction has been its stringent limitation of its defense engagements when any responsible state would understand that we need them now more than ever.”