Chairman of US Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford and his Chinese counterpart, chief of the general staff of the Chinese People's Liberation Army Gen Fang Fenghui, attend a welcoming ceremony in Beijing, China August 15, 2017. Photo: Reuters/Thomas Peter

Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen Joe Dunford and his counterpart Gen Fang Fenghui of the Chinese army signed an agreement to improve communication between the two militaries, according to a post on the US Department of Defense website.

The agreement, signed in Beijing on Tuesday, stresses crisis mitigation and the “need for candor”, as tensions on the Korean peninsula reached a fever pitch last week:

Direct communication at the three-star level in the Pentagon and the Ba Yi will “enable us to communicate to reduce the risk of miscalculation.” Army Lt. Gen. Richard D. Clarke, the Joint Staff’s director for strategic plans and policy, will lead the effort for the American military. The first meeting to set up the framework is set for November.

These communications are especially crucial now, as the region and world are facing the dangers of a nuclear-armed North Korea, officials said.

The joint strategic dialogue mechanism grew out of diplomatic and security talks in Washington earlier this year. Those talks grew out of a Florida meeting between President Donald J. Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping in April. […]

But the two countries must make tangible progress, the chairman said. “As we start these meetings, having the framework for dealing with these difficult issues is different than making progress on them,” he said. “I think our collective challenge is to sincerely and with candor attack these issues that we have to address.”