Friday, October 21, 2005

No Beijing-Washington Hotline

According to Bill Gertz, China has rejected a request from Defense Secretary Rumsfeld to create a direct line between senior leaders in Beijing and the White House. The line, which would be similar to the "Red Phone" in the Cold War, would threaten Chinese security because
the communications channel will permit U.S. intelligence agencies to trace the location of senior Chinese decision makers who use the telephone.

Lest readers think that paranoia is the only thing preventing the creation of such a hotline, Gertz offers another explanation:
One official also told us that another reason China's military is opposed to a direct telephone link with the Pentagon is that "anyone who answers the phone can't make a decision."

Update: Japan is asking for a hotline as well. The response is predictable.