In a recent telephone conversation between U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper and CCP Defense Minister Wei Fenghe, the Chinese Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) activity in the South China Sea near Taiwan was described by Esper as “destabilizing,” according to Reuters.

“Secretary Esper also communicated the importance that the PRC (People’s Republic of China, CCP) abide by international laws, rules and norms and meet its international commitments,” Chief Pentagon spokesman for the Department of Defense Jonathan Hoffmann said Thursday, Aug. 6. 

The call comes amid tensions between the two world powers as a result of the CCP’s questionable handling of the pandemic, as well as disputes with technology giant Huawei, the repression in Hong Kong, claims in the South China Sea, and the closure of consulates in both countries.

During the call, Esper reminded Wei again of Beijing’s obligations to be transparent about the CCP Virus (coronavirus) pandemic.  

“They have a need to provide samples, to provide data—that didn’t happen. And we expect them to continue to improve their information sharing in regard of that,” Hoffman wrote.

Another Pentagon statement reported that the two sides reached an agreement for “developing the systems necessary for crisis communications and risk reduction.”

The Esper had previously announced an upcoming visit to China to improve “crisis communication” channels, as well as to address other areas of mutual interest.  

According to National Public Radio, there was no mention by either side of the recent announcement by the Department of Health and Human Services of Secretary Alex Azar’s trip to Taiwan as “the highest-level visit by a U.S. Cabinet official since 1979.

The CCP threatened Thursday to take countermeasures during the trip by Azar, while the island nation claimed by the CCP announced preparations for the meeting, The Telegraph reported.

Regarding the tensions over the South China Sea, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in July, “Beijing’s claims of offshore resources in most of the South China Sea are completely illegal, as is its campaign of intimidation to control them.”