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The Biden administration is examining the possibility of establishing a hotline with the Chinese government, similar to the so-called “red phone” established between the United States and the Soviet Union during the Cold War, which allowed direct communication with the Kremlin as a way to avoid nuclear war.
Although the idea is still in the pipeline and has not yet been formally approached to China, Biden wants to develop a rapid communication tool to reduce the risk of conflict between the U.S. and China, according to CNN.
The network, which cites as a source people involved in talks about the device, claims that a direct line to Beijing would allow Biden, or senior officials on his national security team, to immediately make phone calls or send encrypted messages to President Xi Jinping or his closest aides.
For example, urgent information about sudden military movements or warning messages sent about cyberattacks could be shared.
The idea of establishing a hotline with Beijing dates back at least as far as the Barack Obama administration, although the concept was not embodied in a classified national security memo until the final year of the Trump administration.
Biden administration officials have pursued the idea, the sources said, but numerous details remain to be worked out, including whether the Chinese will agree to the installation of the device.
The U.S. has long had trouble getting quick responses from Beijing when it comes to urgent matters, American officials said.