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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

China Hotline

President Bush was in China when Russia and Georgia went to war over the weekend; thus, he could talk to Chinese leaders directly if he needed to discuss the developing crisis.

However, if Bush had been in Washington, he could have used the new hotline linking Washington and Beijing. Reuters, February 29, 2008:
China and the United States formally agreed on Friday a long-planned hotline to improve communication between their two militaries.

Leaders of both countries agreed to establish a direct telephone link for quick communication in times of crisis during the APEC summit last September,
The article refers to the new hotline as a defense telephone link (DTL), so perhaps Secretary Robert Gates used the phone this past weekend. It was operational by April, according to the AP, as Gates participated in the first test.

The hotline has been in the works since at least 1998 and is said to be modeled after the one linking the US and former Soviet Union since 1963 (just after the Cuban Missile Crisis).

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