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Mullen Defends Milley’s Conversations with China as ‘Routine’

Former Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Mike Mullen said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week” that the conservations between Gen. Mark Milley and Chinese officials after January 6 were “routine.”

Host Martha Raddatz said, “Chairman Milley, you’ve seen the stories about General Milley’s comments that he made in the book Peril, to Bob Woodward and Robert Costa. The chairman is quoted as saying he reassured China during those last tumultuous months we weren’t going to strike. He says this is routine. Is it routine? What’s your reaction?”

Mullen said, “Having communications with counterparts around the world is routine, and even having them now with China. There was a time when we had no communications with China, or we would have a problem with China. They would call off all mill-to-mill connections. So actually, I’m encouraged the line of communication is there, and this was routine. I think it was also overseeing certainly listened to by many others in the interagency process. Milley wasn’t out there by himself.”

Raddatz said, “Even saying something like as quoted in the book and I know you don’t know this exactly, something like we’re not going to strike, don’t worry. I’ll call you?”

Mullen said, “I’m hopeful that part of it isn’t true per se, but at the same time, having the conversation is really critical. What’s a little bit alarming to me, though, is that the Chinese would read the situation as they did as really chaotic and as if we were going to possibly strike. It’s very clear, and I don’t know this because I haven’t talked to Chairman Milley. It’s very clear he had good intel that this was the case, but the misread by China is also worrisome, and it speaks to the need to have these open communications, so we don’t miscalculate.”

Follow Pam Key on Twitter @pamkeyNEN



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