- Title: Top U.S. general Milley staunchly defends calls with China
- Date: 28th September 2021
- Summary: WASHINGTON, D.C., UNITED STATES (SEPTEMBER 28, 2021) (UNRESTRICTED POOL) CHAIRMAN OF THE SENATE ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE SENATOR JACK REED OPENING HEARING SIDE SHOT OF WITNESSES (SOUNDBITE) (English) GENERAL MARK MILLEY, CHAIRMAN OF THE JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF, SAYING: "At no time was I attempting to change or influence the process, usurp authority or insert myself in the chain of command, but I am expected, I am required to give my advice and ensure that the president is fully informed on military matters." WIDE SHOT OF MILLEY TESTIFYING (SOUNDBITE) (English) GENERAL MARK MILLEY, CHAIRMAN OF THE JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF, SAYING: "Later that same day on eight January, Speaker of the House Pelosi called me to inquire about the president's ability to launch nuclear weapons. I sought to assure her that nuclear launch is governed by a very specific and deliberate process. She was concerned and made very or made various personal references characterizing the president. I explained to her that the president is the sole nuclear launch authority and he doesn't launch them alone, and that I am not qualified to determine the mental health of the president of the United States. There are processes, protocols and procedures in place, and I repeatedly assured her, that there is no chance of an illegal, unauthorized or accidental launch. By presidential directive and Secretary of Defense Directives, the Chairman is part of the process to ensure the president is fully informed when determining the use of the world's deadliest weapons by law. I am not in the chain of command and I know that. However, by presidential directive and DOD instruction, I am in the chain of communication to fulfill my legal statutory role as the president's primary military adviser." MEDIUM WIDE SHOT OF MILLEY TESTIFYING (SOUNDBITE) (English) GENERAL MARK MILLEY, CHAIRMAN OF THE JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF, SAYING: "These military to military communications at the highest level are critical to the security of the United States in order to deconflict military actions, manage crisis and present, prevent war between great powers that are armed with the world's most deadliest weapons. The calls on 30 October and eight January were coordinated before and after with Secretary Esper and Acting Secretary Miller staffs and the interagency. The specific purpose of the October and January calls were to generate were generated by concerning intelligence, which caused us to believe the Chinese were worried about an attack on them by the United States. I know I am certain that President Trump did not intend to attack the Chinese, and it is my directed responsibility, and it was my direct responsibility by the secretary to convey that intent to the Chinese. My task at that time was to de-escalate. My message again was consistent. Stay calm, steady and deescalate. We are not going to attack you." MEDIUM WIDE SHOT OF MILLEY TESTIFYING
- Embargoed: 12th October 2021 16:35
- Keywords: China General Li Zuocheng of the People's Liberation Army General Mark Milley Joint Chiefs of Staff Trump calls calls for resignation tension war
- Location: WASHINGTON, D.C., UNITED STATES
- City: WASHINGTON, D.C., UNITED STATES
- Country: US
- Topics: Defence,Government/Politics,United States
- Reuters ID: LVA001EWMXNPJ
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: General Mark Milley, the top U.S. military officer, on Tuesday (September 28) staunchly defended calls with his Chinese counterpart that have raised Republican demands for his resignation, saying he had been aiming to ease tension with Beijing and not to "usurp authority."
"At no time was I attempting to change or influence the process, usurp authority, or insert myself into the chain of command," Milley told the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, called General Li Zuocheng of the People's Liberation Army on Oct. 30, 2020 and again on Jan. 8. Milley said he sought to assure Li the United States was stable and was not going to attack following U.S. intelligence indicating Chinese concerns of a possible U.S. strike.
Reports of the calls first emerged in "Peril," a new book by journalists Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, which they said relied on interviews with 200 sources.
Former President Donald Trump, in a statement, cast doubt in the story, calling it "fabricated." He said if the story was true Milley should be tried for treason. "For the record, I never even thought of attacking China," Trump said.
(Production: Deborah Lutterbeck)
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