The risk of China-US military conflict is worryingly high

The US and China have settled into a pattern of military manoeuvring in the South China Sea that allows both sides to ‘save face’

The two sides are sleepwalking into confrontation in the South China Sea. ZHOU BO. Financial Times

The US and China have settled into a pattern of military manoeuvring in the South China Sea that allows both sides to ‘save face’ © Zha Chunming/Xinhua/AP

Zhou Bo YESTERDAY

The writer is a senior fellow at the Center for International Security and Strategy at Tsinghua University, and a China Forum expert

The relationship between China and the US is in freefall. That is dangerous. US defence secretary Mark Esper has said he wants to visit China this year, which shows the Pentagon is worried. That Wei Fenghe, China’s defence minister, spoke at length with Mr Esper in August shows that Beijing is worried too. Both men have agreed to keep communications open and to work to reduce risks as they arise.

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