FILE – In this Sept. 1, 2021, file photo Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley speaks during a briefing with Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin at the Pentagon in Washington. The top U.S. military officer said Friday that calls he made to his Chinese counterpart in the final stormy months of Donald Trump’s presidency were “perfectly within the duties and responsibilities” of his job. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)
UPDATED 8:10 AM PT – Monday, September 20, 2021
Former Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Mike Mullen appeared to defend the current chairman’s calls with China. On Sunday, Mullen told ABC that having conversations with foreign counterparts is routine. Therefore, he asserted Gen. Mark Milley did not act abnormally.
Mullen said he does hope some reported parts of the calls are not accurate, however, like Milley allegedly telling China he would warn them of a strike if one were to be planned.
The Former Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman implied he’s more concerned with China’s reaction than Milley’s behavior on the calls. He suggested lines of communication with China are new and positive developments. However, he pointed out that China is not reading the communications properly.
“What’s a little bit alarming to me though is that the Chinese would read the situation as they did, as really chaotic,” Mullen stated. “As if we were going to possibly strike. It’s very clear, and I don’t know this because I haven’t talked to Chairman Milley, it’s very clear he had good intel that this was the case.”
Chairman Milley is scheduled to speak to Congress about the Afghanistan withdrawal at the end of the month, though questions about his phone calls are expected now.