By Edward Cody
Washington Post Foreign Service
Monday, November 5, 2007; 9:14 AM
BEIJING, Nov. 5 — China and the United States announced Monday that they will set up a military hotline between Beijing and Washington to avoid misunderstanding during any
moments of crisis in the Pacific.
The hotline, which the United States has been urging for some time, symbolizes an improvement in military relations that has taken place since the crisis that erupted in 2001 when a U.S. reconnaissance plane collided with a Chinese interceptor off southern China. It also underlines the degree to which China’s rapidly improving military has come to be seen as a factor to be dealt with in the Asia-Pacific region.
China’s Defense Ministry long resisted the idea of a direct line, with officials noting they have no such arrangement with any other country. But Zhang Qinshen, the deputy chief of staff, said at a Singapore security conference in June that China was now ready to proceed.