With tensions between the US and China at their highest in decades, military chiefs from the two countries decided to hold talks on crisis communications. According to China's defense ministry, the US and Chinese militaries held a video conference meeting on October 28th and 29th.
One issue China raised with the US were rumors of a US drone attack on Chinese-claimed islands in the South China Sea. The rumors of such an attack stemmed from a US military drill held in California in September. The exercise simulated an island attack, and US Airmen operating MQ-9 Reaper drones wore patches that depicted a drone and a skeleton over a red silhouette of China.
China said US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper dismissed the rumor that the US was planning an attack in the South China Sea. "US Defense Secretary Esper clarified the issue through the military diplomacy channel and said the reports were inconsistent with the facts," Wu Qian, China's defense ministry spokesman, said.