A senior Pentagon official talked with his Chinese counterpart for the first time since President Joe Biden took office. In the talk, the pentagon affirmed the U.S. vision for the Indo-Pacific region, while Beijing didn’t mention the region at all.
The Department of Defense (DoD) released the brief of the secure video conference between Dr. Michael Chase, deputy assistant secretary of defense for China, and Major General Huang Xueping, deputy director of China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Office for International Military Cooperation on Aug. 19.
“Dr. Chase affirmed the U.S. vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific region, and the U.S. commitment to uphold common principles shared by allies and partners,” the brief said. The DoD’s priorities for U.S.-China defense relations focus on preventing and managing crisis and risk, and maintaining U.S.–China communication channels.
Reference News, a Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) newspaper, only reported on Aug. 30 that “both sides agreed on the importance of maintaining open channels of communication between the two militaries” without mentioning other topics.
The South China Morning Post (SCMP), a Hong Kong media owned by Chinese company Alibaba, on Aug. 28 quoted a source close to the Chinese military that said “the Afghanistan crisis was the most urgent issue discussed in [the senior military talk].”
SCMP’s source said: “What China is concerned about is that the extremist forces, especially the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, will expand their power and influence amid the chaos in Afghanistan.” The Chinese regime accuses the East Turkestan Islamic Movement of being behind the terrorist attacks in western China’s Xinjiang.
This SCMP source delivered a different message from what the Chinese regime publicly announced on the Afghan issue.
The CCP’s Tone on Afghanistan
On Sept. 1, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin claimed that the Taliban regime was chosen by all Afghan people and that it would bring peace and reconstruction to the country.
After the Taliban controlled the capital, Kabul, the country was in “high tension and high panic,” rescue mission leader Peter Quinn told The Epoch Times on Monday, with people trying to flee the land or hide themselves to avoid the Taliban’s massacre.