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US top general secretly called China over fears Trump could spark war

WASHINGTON

The US top general secretly called his Chinese counterpart twice last year over concerns then-president Donald Trump could spark a war with China as his potential election loss loomed and in its aftermath, The Washington Post reported on Tuesday (Sept 14).

US General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, called General Li Zuocheng of the People’s Liberation Army on Oct 30, 2020 – four days before the presidential election – and again on Jan 8, two days after Trump supporters led a deadly riot at the US Capitol, the paper reported.

In the calls, Gen Milley sought to assure Gen Li we were stable and not getting to attack and, if there have been to be an attack, he would alert his counterpart before time, the report said.

The report was supported by a replacement book, Peril, by journalists, Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, which they said relied on interviews with 200 sources and is thanks to be released next week.

Mr. Trump said in an interview with news website Newsmax on Tuesday that Gen Milley’s reported promise to offer Gen Li advance warning of any attack was “treasonous” which there was no need for such a call.

“I didn’t ever consider attacking China,” Mr. Trump said.

Gen Milley’s office declined to comment.

Republican Senator Marco Rubio called on President Joe Biden, a Democrat, to right away fire Gen Milley.

“I don’t get to tell of you the risks posed by senior military officers leaking classified information on US military operations, but I will be able to underscore that such subversion undermines the President’s ability to barter and leverage one among this nation’s instruments of national power in his interactions with foreign nations,” Mr. Rubio said during a letter to Mr. Biden.

Asked about the report by reporters traveling with Mr Biden aboard Air Force One, White House spokesman Karine Jean-Pierre declined to comment and referred them to the Joint Chiefs of Staff and therefore the Defence Department.

The Republican Trump named Gen Milley to the highest post in 2018 but began criticizing him after losing the November election to Mr. Biden and left the White House on Jan 20.

Gen Milley was motivated to contact Beijing the second time partially thanks to a Jan 8 call with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who had asked the overall what safeguards were in situ to stop an “unstable president” from launching a nuclear strike, the report said, citing a transcript of the decision.

“He’s crazy. you recognize he’s crazy,” Ms. Pelosi told Gen Milley within the call, consistent with the report.

According to the cited call transcript, the overall replied: “I accept as true with you on everything.”

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