Top US Navy officer to hold talks in China to ease tensions


Admiral John Richardson will meet Chinese counterpart Vice-Admiral Shen Jinlong in a move to combat escalating friction in the South China Sea

Will this be a meeting of minds? On Sunday, the United States Navy’s top officer will visit China as tensions increase in the South China Sea.

Chief of Naval Operations Admiral John Richardson will meet with his counterpart Vice-Admiral Shen Jinlong and leaders of China’s Central Military Commission during his visit to Beijing and the eastern city of Nanjing, according to the US Navy.

The goal of the visit, Richardson’s second as head of operations, is to “continue a results-oriented, risk reduction focused dialogue” between the two militaries, the US Navy confirmed in a report by the Associated Press.

“A routine exchange of views is essential, especially in times of friction, in order to reduce risk and avoid miscalculation,” Richardson said in the US Navy statement. “Honest and frank dialogue can improve the relationship in constructive ways, help explore areas where we share common interests, and reduce risk while we work through our differences.”

Richardson and Shen have met before. They both attended the 2018 International Seapower Symposium in the US and have held three discussions via video teleconference, the statement said.

China has made it clear that it objects to US naval presence in what it considers to be its sphere of influence.

Beijing sees this as a strategy to contain its growing economic and military power.