US admiral warns no China hotline in case of crisis
WASHINGTON (AFP) - The top US commander in the Pacific expressed concern Thursday that he has no direct line to his counterpart in China in the case of a crisis in the region.
Amid tensions between China and Japan in the East China Sea, Admiral Samuel Locklear said he wanted a hotline to officers from the People's Liberation Army to defuse potential conflict.
"I don't have the ability to pick up a phone and talk directly to a PLA navy admiral or general at the time of a crisis. And we need to work on that," Locklear told a news conference.
The issue has been discussed between the two governments, he said, "but things take time." The head of US Pacific Command said Pentagon chief Chuck Hagel and the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, occasionally consult their counterparts by phone.