Milley Defends China Calls as ‘Routine,’ ‘Within the Duties’ of His Job

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley testifies before the House Armed Services Committee hearing in Washington, D.C., July 9, 2020. (Michael Reynolds/Reuters)

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley defended the calls he made to his Chinese counterpart in the final months of the Trump administration in comments to the Associated Press on Friday, his first public remarks on the matter.

The calls were “perfectly within the duties and responsibilities” of his position, Milley said, adding that similar conversations are “routine,” undertaken “to reassure both allies and adversaries in this case in order to ensure strategic stability.”

However, “I think it’s best that I reserve my comments on the record until I do that in front of the lawmakers who have the lawful responsibility to oversee the U.S. military,” Milley said. “I’ll go into any level of detail Congress wants to go into in a couple of weeks.”

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