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Top-level defense meeting ‘positive, frank, constructive’

By DONG LESHUO in Washington | China Daily USA | Updated: 2018-11-13 02:33
Wei Fenghe (right), visiting Chinese state councilor and minister of national defense, talks with J. V. “Jay” Vinyard, a US World War II veteran who was a pilot in the China-Burma-India Theater, on Saturday in Washington. [Photo / Xinhua]

Defense chiefs of China and the United States highlighted efforts to enhance cooperation and avoid confrontation in a “positive, frank and constructive” discussion at the Pentagon on Friday.

Chinese State Councilor and Minister of National Defense Wei Fenghe, in his meeting with US Secretary of Defense James Mattis on Friday afternoon, said President Xi Jinping and US President Donald Trump have reached a series of important consensuses that provide strategic guidance for developing Sino-American relations.

Both sides should earnestly implement the consensus reached, strive to avoid conflicts and confrontation, respect each other and conduct win-win cooperation, so as to make positive contributions to world peace and prosperity, Wei said.

They should treat the military-to-military relationship in a positive and calm manner, enhance strategic communication, boost mutual trust, expand dialogue and cooperation, properly manage risks, and discuss rules and ways to avoid unexpected conflicts and frictions to make the military-to-military relationship a stabilizer for the overall bilateral relationship, Wei said.

Mattis agreed with Wei that bilateral and military-to-military relations should be developed steadily. He said the US has no intention to contain China and that fostering a constructive military-to-military relationship with China has always been a goal.

Mattis said he hopes both militaries could make full use of the current dialogue and communication mechanisms to improve risk management, avoid misunderstandings and miscalculations, and seek pragmatic cooperation in more fields.

Wei and Mattis also exchanged views on issues relating to the South China Sea, Taiwan and the Korean Peninsula.

Wei noted that the Chinese military firmly opposes any acts to separate China and will safeguard China’s national sovereignty, security and territory at all costs.

On Saturday, Wei said he had a “positive, frank and constructive” discussion with Mattis.

“I should say this is a very successful visit, since we have reached many positive agreements,” Wei said in a meeting with World War II veterans at the Chinese embassy in Washington.

Wei said that the veterans reminded him of the time when China and the US “fought shoulder to shoulder and to defend against the common enemy”.

Chinese people will never forget their old friends, he said.

“General Wei made it clear to all of us that a peaceful relationship is so important to him,” said Nell Calloway, CEO and president of the Chennault Aviation and Military Museum in Monroe, Louisiana.

“We must take lessons from the war and remember how we put aside our differences and what we have accomplished by doing that,” said Calloway, granddaughter of General Claire L. Chennault, the leader of the “Flying Tigers” air squadron, which helped transport arms and other materials to support China’s fight against Japanese invaders.

“If we strengthen the relationship between China and the US, we can accomplish great things now, like we did during the time of war, and we can do it during the time of peace,” said Calloway.

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