Top US general made secret calls to China for fear Trump would start war at end of term

WASHINGTON — Twice in the past year, the head of the US military high command secretly called his Chinese counterpart over concerns that then-President Donald Trump might start a war with China as his potential election defeat and beyond that the results were confirmed, the American newspaper Washington Post reported on Tuesday.

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General Mark Milley, head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, called General Li Zuocheng of the People’s Liberation Army on October 30, 2020—four days before the US presidential election—and again on January 8, two days later. that Trump supporters stormed Congressional headquarters at the urging of the president himself, the newspaper reported.

In the calls, Milley sought to assure Li that the US was stable and would not launch an attack. He also stated that if there was any sign to the contrary, he would be alerted in advance, the report said.

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The WPost report is based on “Peril” (“Danger”, still without translation into Portuguese), a new book by the journalist duo Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, who interviewed more than 200 sources. Its release is scheduled for next week in the US.

Milley’s staff declined to comment. Trump’s representatives could not be reached immediately.

Asked about the report by journalists traveling with Democratic President Joe Biden on the Air Force One presidential plane, White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre declined to comment and forwarded the questions to the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Department of Defense.

Republican Trump named Milley to the highest US military post in 2018, but began to criticize him, as he did with other nominees and former officials, after losing the November election to Biden and leaving the White House on 20. January.

Milley was motivated to contact Beijing for the second time in part because of a Jan. 8 call from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi when she asked the general what safeguards existed to prevent an “unstable president” from launching a nuclear attack, said the report, citing a transcript of the call.

“He’s crazy.” You know he’s crazy,” Pelosi told Milley on the call, according to WPost.

To which the general would have replied, according to the newspaper:

“We agree on everything.