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I have no hotline to China, Indo-Pacific commander pick says

Adm. John Aquilino asks to be part of discussion if US alters Taiwan policy

Two red phones were seen on Chinese President Xi Jinping's desk as he gave his New Year address. (Screenshot from CGTN)

NEW YORK -- U.S. Navy Adm. John Aquilino, the nominee to be the next leader of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, told senators in his confirmation hearing Tuesday that he will advocate for a direct line of communication, or "red phone," with his Chinese counterpart to de-escalate and manage crises.

"I do not have a direct communication with my counterpart," Aquilino said, speaking of his current capacity as commander of the Pacific Fleet. "I know Adm. Davidson has advocated for that ability at his level. And I know the chairman does have a connection that he can utilize," he said, referring to his predecessor, Indo-Pacific Commander Philip Davidson, and to Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

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