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NEWS | Dec. 16, 2020

PLA a ‘No-Show’ for Operational Maritime and Aviation Safety Dialogue

By Press Release 201216-01 December 16, 2020 CAMP H.M. SMITH, HAWAII - Public Affairs

CAMP H.M. SMITH, HAWAII – The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) declined to participate in the virtual Military Maritime Consultative Agreement (MMCA) Work Group and Flag Officer Plenary session with U.S. Indo-Pacific Command scheduled for Dec. 14-16, 2020.

The United States and People’s Republic of China (PRC) have met regularly since 1998 to conduct the MMCA dialogue as a consultation mechanism to strengthen military maritime safety, to improve operational safety in the air and sea, and reduce risk between our two militaries. The Department of Defense (DoD) and the PLA agreed to hold the 2020 MMCA meeting virtually due to the on-going COVID-19 pandemic. This exchange is an agreed-upon event in the U.S.-PRC 2020 defense engagement plan.

“The PRC’s refusal to show up to MMCA is another example that China does not honor its agreements, and this should serve as a reminder to all nations as they pursue agreements with China going forward,” said Adm. Phil Davidson, the Commander for U.S. Indo-Pacific Command.

The purpose of MMCA is to review unsafe military incidents that have occurred between U.S. and PLA forces; assess rules of behavior between the U.S. and PRC for safety in the air and at sea; and discuss operational approaches to improve maritime and aviation safety in accordance with international law.

DoD will continue to seek a constructive, stable, and results-oriented relationship with the PLA and will address PLA concerns in the appropriate forum. Our priorities are to prevent and manage crisis, reduce risk to forces operating in proximity to each other, and cooperate where interests align.

“We remain committed to the MMCA and call on the PLA to hold the MMCA dialogue in a manner consistent with the MMCA Charter and purpose as an operational safety dialogue,” Davidson said.

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