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US-China tensions

U.S.-China defense talks: Biden seeks channel to Xi's inner circle

Washington and Beijing grope their way toward easing risk of conflict

U.S. President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping want to avoid misunderstandings through improved communication.   © Reuters

WASHINGTON/BEIJING -- Efforts to secure early talks between U.S. and Chinese defense chiefs show how both sides see a military channel as a bare minimum to avoid accidental confrontations.

The U.S. and China are working to arrange a phone call or a virtual meeting of top defense officials, including U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, before the end of the year, multiple American officials have said.

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