General Dunford admitted this oddly when he said that there were many „difficult issues” on which the two countries did not have the same perspective, and it is clear that a forum to talk about topics is not the same as making progress on them. Nevertheless, he said that balancing misjudgments was a „minimum standard” for the talks and that the United States and China needed to address their differences of opinion with openness. Last week, the U.S. Secretary of Defense and China`s Secretary of Defense held a conference call amid deteriorating relations between the two powers. The Pentagon said That Minister Mark Esper had told his counterpart that he was focused on „crisis prevention and management” and that the two heads of state and government agreed on the importance of improving crisis communication and risk reduction mechanisms. China`s reading of the meeting stressed that the United States itself must „improve maritime risk control and prevent dangerous actions that could further aggravate the situation.” In 1998, the United States and China concluded the Maritime Military Maritime Advisory Agreement (MMCA) to prevent accidents when their respective maritime and air forces operate in close proximity. Sixteen years of negotiations have made little progress. Two agreements on confidence-building measures in the military field were reached at the U.S.-China summit in Beijing: the announcement of important military activities and a code of conduct for the safety of maritime and air encounters. Together, they promise that the U.S. and Chinese military, despite mistrust and continued preparations for deterrence and defeat of the other side, will be able to work together to reduce errors of judgment, increase predictability and reduce the risk of an accident, which could lead to an involuntary escalation in times of crisis. The agreements between the United States and China on the behaviour of ships and aircraft suffer from the fact that they are more encouraging than mandatory and more subjective than explicit. The new staff dialogues should not prompt the United States to reduce its surveillance activities and should not encourage China to stop intercepting them. Nor would they have prevented China from seizing an underwater search drone from the U.S.
Navy last December, nor is it clear that they would have improved the talks to ensure their return, which China considers „smooth” and already satisfactory, to avoid „misunderstandings or misjudgments.” In August, General Joseph Dunford, President of the United Nations Joint Chiefs of Personnel, and General Fang Fenghui, until recently the head of the PLA`s Joint Division, signed a framework to establish a communication mechanism between their collaborators.