Nine retired senior military officials from the US and China will meet on the southern island of Hainan on Thursday in order to reduce tensions between the two countries, the Financial Times reported. The meeting was approved by both governments and financed by business interests hoping to smooth relations between the US and China. The retired military commanders will be able to discuss issues, particularly the potential for conflict over Taiwan, more frankly than their counterparts who continue to serve in the armed forces. Retired four-star admiral and former vice-chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Bill Owens leads the US delegation. The Chinese group is led by Xiong Guangkai who was deputy chief of the general staff in China for a decade.