Militaries make headway during visit
Updated: 2011-05-19 10:59
By Li Xing and Tan Yingzi (China Daily)
WASHINGTON– Chinese and American navies will engage in a series of joint exercises to counter piracy in the Gulf of Aden and better their communication and cooperation in times of emergencies to cut risk and improve maritime safety and security.
The two militaries will also conduct a joint exercise next year in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, while there will be exchange visits between the two navies’ hospital ships, plus a joint medical aid exercise.
These were among the several agreements that came out of "frank, in-depth and fruitful" talks between visiting China's Chief of Staff of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Chen Bingde and his American counterpart, Admiral Michael G. Mullen, US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Chen told the media in the joint press conference at Pentagon on Wednesday.
"We agree that enhancing military-to-military relations between China and the US serve interests of not only the Chinese and American people, but also the people in the world," said Chen, the first PLA Chief of Staff to visit the US in seven years.
Chen headed a Chinese military delegation that included senior military officers from the army, the navy, the air force and the missile troops. The members of the delegation also met US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and several members of the US congress.
"It is essential to move the mil-to-mil relations between our two countries in a more positive direction," Mullen told the media.
Both Chen and Mullen emphasized that their agreements were reached within the framework of building a "US-China cooperative partnership based on mutual respect and mutual benefit", which was the consensus that Chinese President Hu Jintao and US President Barack Obama attained during Hu's official visit to the US in January.
They highlighted the fact that "a healthy, stable and reliable military-to-military relationship is an important part of the China-US relationship," according to a joint readout released at the press conference.
Their talks provided an "opportunity to validate our assumptions of each other so we can make adjustment accordingly," Mullen said.
"China does not have the culture nor the ability to challenge the United States," Chen said, acknowledging from this visit, he has observed "a gaping gap" between the US and Chinese militaries in weapons and equipment.
Moreover, the talks helped each side to understand the security environment as seen from the other side "to gain a better sense of common interest" that both countries share not only in the Asia-Pacific region but also in the world, Mullen said.
Mutual trust and especially mutual respect and accommodation of each other's core interests is essential to forging ahead the mil-to-mil ties between the two countries, Chen said.
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