Critical to have direct line of communication with China: Pentagon chief By Reuters

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© Reuters. U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin attends a hearing on the Pentagon’s budget request to testify before a Senate Armed Services Committee, on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, U.S., June 10, 2021. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said on Thursday that it was critical to have direct lines of communication with Chinese officials in case of an accident.

“I’m concerned about something that could happen that could spark a crisis and I think we need the ability to be able to talk with both our allies and partners but also our adversaries or potential adversaries,” Austin told lawmakers during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing.

“There needs to be a direct line of communication between the military and also between government officials as well,” he added.

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