Mullen defends Milley's conversations with China as 'routine'

Former Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Mike Mullen on Sunday defended the conservations between Gen. Mark MilleyMark MilleyRepublicans would need a promotion to be 'paper tigers' We've left Afghanistan — but its consequences are just starting to arrive Key Iraq War strategist and former Army chief Raymond Odierno dies at 67 MORE and Chinese officials after Jan. 6, which were revealed in a new book, as "routine." 

“Having communications with counterparts around the world is routine, and even having them now with China,” Mullen told host Martha Raddatz on ABC's "This Week." 

“There was a time when we had no communications with China, or we'd have a problem with China, they'd cut off all mil-to-mil connections. And so, actually, I'm encouraged at the fact that the line of communication is there.”

Journalists Bob Woodward and Robert Costa’s write in their new book “Peril,” that Milley, the current chairman of the Joint Chiefs, told Chinese officials after the riot at the U.S. Capitol that former President TrumpDonald TrumpMcAuliffe takes tougher stance on Democrats in Washington Democrats troll Trump over Virginia governor's race Tom Glavine, Ric Flair, Doug Flutie to join Trump for Herschel Walker event MORE did not plan to attack Beijing as an attempt to stay in office.

Milley told The Associated Press that his calls to China following the Jan. 6 Capitol riot were “routine” and “perfectly within the duties and responsibilities” of his role. The top military official also told the news outlet that he has regularly made similar calls “to reassure both allies and adversaries in this case in order to ensure strategic stability.”

Mullen also said on Sunday that he was alarmed by Chinese officials misreading Milley’s remarks as warning signs, adding that we need to have “open communication” so miscalculations won’t happen. 

“It's very clear -- and I don't know this because I haven't talked to Chairman Milley. It's very clear he had good intel that this was the case,” Mullen told Raddatz. “But the misread by China is also worrisome. And it speaks to the need to have these open communications, so that we don't miscalculate.”