The People's Liberation Army general reportedly in contact with White House Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley last October and January is one of China's biggest saber rattlers and a hawk on Taiwan, The Washington Free Beacon reported.
Gen. Li Zuocheng once pledged to "resolutely smash Taiwan," and Bob Woodward's soon-to-be-release book "Peril" claimed Milley told Li he would give a heads up to his acquaintance of five years if the U.S. was preparing to an attack.
While President Joe Biden and the White House are standing behind Gen. Milley's actions, some Republicans are calling on Milley to resign or be fired. Some critics are even suggesting Milley be court-martialed for actions against the interests of the United States.
Li has made public calls to "resolutely smash" Taiwanese forces or any country that challenges the Chinese Communist Party's control in the region.
"If the possibility for peaceful reunification is lost, the people's armed forces will, with the whole nation, including the people of Taiwan, take all necessary steps to resolutely smash any separatist plots or actions," Li said in a 2020 speech at Beijing's Great Hall of the People, the Free Beacon reported. "We do not promise to abandon the use of force and reserve the option to take all necessary measures to stabilize and control the situation in the Taiwan Strait."
Chinese social media site Baijiahao hailed Li's remarks.
"The United States is in cahoots and arrogant, but Gen. Li Zuocheng has also drawn a red line for the Taiwan Province authorities," the post is translated to read, according to the Free Beacon. "Gen. Li Zuocheng's warning is not a cliché. He is a fighting hero who . . . represents the attitude of every bloody Chinese son and daughter. The Taiwan Province authorities should not underestimate the determination of the mainland."
Not only has Li been a bold talker for China, he has also been developing growing ties with Russia and Pakistani leaders, according to the Free Beacon.
In fact, the Taliban has taken over Afghanistan after Biden's withdrawal and talked about joining in trade deals with Pakistan and China.
"These actions by Gen. Milley demonstrate a clear lack of sound judgment, and I urge you to dismiss him immediately," Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., wrote in a letter to Biden this week. "Gen. Milley has attempted to rationalize his reckless behavior by arguing that what he perceived as the military's judgment as more stable than its civilian commander. It is a dangerous precedent that could be asserted at any point in the future by Gen. Milley or others.
"It threatens to tear apart our nation’s longstanding principle of civilian control of the military."
The spokesman for Milley, Col. Dave Butler told the Free Beacon, Milley "regularly communicates" to avoid "unintended consequences" and provide "clarity."
"His calls with the Chinese and others in October and January were in keeping with these duties and responsibilities conveying reassurance in order to maintain strategic stability," Butler said. "All calls from the chairman to his counterparts, including those reported, are staffed, coordinated and communicated with the Department of Defense and the interagency.
"Gen. Milley continues to act and advise within his authority in the lawful tradition of civilian control of the military and his oath to the Constitution."
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