According to the upcoming book “Peril,” written by Washington Post journalists Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, out of fear of what Donald Trump might do in his final weeks as president, the United States' top military officer had to twice assure his Chinese counterpart that they would not go to war against them.
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley told Gen. Li Zuocheng of the People’s Liberation Army that the United States would not strike. The first call happened four days before the election, while the second one took place on January 8, 2021, two days after the US Capitol insurrection.
“General Li, I want to assure you that the American government is stable and everything is going to be okay,” Milley told him in the first call. “We are not going to attack or conduct any kinetic operations against you.”
“If we’re going to attack, I’m going to call you ahead of time. It’s not going to be a surprise," Milley said.
Selections from the book, which is set to be released next week, were first reported by The Washington Post on Tuesday.
The second call was meant to placate Chinese fears about the events of Jan. 6. But the book reports that Li wasn’t as easily assuaged, even after Milley promised him, “We are 100 percent steady. Everything’s fine. But democracy can be sloppy sometimes.”
Milley believed the president suffered a mental decline after the election, agreeing with a view shared by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in a phone call they had Jan. 8, according to officials.
According to the book, he called the admiral supervising the US Indo-Pacific Command, the military unit responsible for Asia and the Pacific region, and suggested postponing upcoming military exercises.
The book further dives into Trump’s relentless efforts to hold on to power even after losing the election.
With Inputs from Associated Press