Senior military commanders are being dissuaded from publicly discussing Chinese actions in the South China Sea, multiple defense officials told CNN Friday.
The White House has sought to cut down on any airing of differences between the Defense Department and the National Security Council on the sensitive issue, the defense officials said, though they noted that there was no official “gag order.”
The White House was particularly concerned that there be no public disagreements between the bodies in the run-up to a visit to Washington by Chinese President Xi Jinping last week as part of President Barack Obama’s Nuclear Security Summit.
Asked for comment, a senior administration official denied that there was any silencing of officials and said the issue was merely one of coordinating a message across several departments.
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