Defense Minister Liang Guanglie and his US counterpart Robert Gates held their first phone conversation Thursday, the Defense Ministry said in a news release.
The establishment of the direct phone link between the two sides marks an important step in the two countries' strategic and long-term interests, Liang told his US counterpart.
The Pentagon also said it was "a reflection that the overall US-China defense relationship continues to improve."
On the Taiwan question, Liang hoped that the US will abide by its commitments to adhere to the one-China policy and the three Sino-US joint communiques.
Liang urged the United States to cease arms sales and military links with Taiwan in a bid to maintain peace and stability across the Taiwan Straits and the overall interests of the Sino-US relations.
Gates congratulated Liang on his appointment as Defense Minister of China last month. He hailed the opening of the direct line as a good beginning, seeing it as a new opportunity to enhance consultations and cooperation between the two sides.
He expressed satisfaction with the development of relations between the US and Chinese militaries, hoping for further exchanges and cooperation.
Gates reassured Liang that the United States will adhere to the one-China policy.
"Secretary Gates congratulated Gen. Liang on his recent promotion to minister of defense and welcomed this important step forward in enhancing communications between our militaries," Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said.
The establishment of a hotline had long been discussed between Washington and Beijing and the countries' leaders formally agreed last September to establish the link.