Some of the top United States and Chinese military commanders have come to an agreement to improve communications between the two superpowers. Put in place to stop a potential powder keg from exploding into a shooting war, the pact will hopefully calm the tense standoffs on going in the South China Sea.

Representing the Trump administration, Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and his Chinese counterpart, Gen. Fang Fenghui, met at the People’s Liberation Army headquarters in Bejing and signed this joint staff dialogue mechanism on Tuesday.

According to the US Department of Defense, the agreement will enable the two militaries “to communicate to reduce the risk of miscalculation.”

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

Dunford, who is currently visiting Asia, said the United States and China “have many difficult issues where we will not necessarily have the same perspectives,” according to a Defense Department statement.

He added improved military contacts would reduce the chances of “miscalculation.”

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Both sides have been using provocative tactics since neither recognizes each other’s claims in the region. The US sailed a destroyer into waters the Chinese claim as territorial and a Chinese J-10 fighter flew within 300 feet of a US EP-3 surveillance aircraft forcing the US plane to take evasive maneuvers.

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Photo courtesy Joint Chiefs of Staff