China-US military ties move ahead
Updated: 2014-09-29 16:44
By Zhang Yunbi(China Daily USA)
Beijing confirmed on Thursday that China and the United States are making progress on two trust-building mechanisms for their militaries ahead of the two defense authorities starting their 15th round of talks in October.
A Ministry of National Defense spokesman indicated that the two powers are moving quickly toward a military cooperative agenda for better communication between them.
China and the US will hold the 15th annual Defense Consultative Talks in mid-October in Washington, said Geng Yansheng,the spokesman at a news conference in Beijing on Thursday.
"Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the Chinese People's Liberation Army Wang Guanzhong will co-chair the talks with US Undersecretary of Defense Christine E. Wormuth," he said.
The previous talks were held on Sept 9, 2013, in Beijing.
The spokesman also confirmed that "the strategic planning departments of the two militaries will hold their first dialogue" during the talks.
Yuan Peng, a US studies expert and vice-president of the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations, said: "It is much wiser for the two sides to engage more attention to the tangible cooperative agenda rather than the issues of huge dispute."
Washington and Beijing traded barbs earlier this year regarding the frequent close-in reconnaissance by US military aircraft along China's coast but they did not halt the cooperative agenda between the two militaries.
As part of Washington's effort to repair the rift, US President Barack Obama's national security adviser, Susan Rice, paid a visit to Beijing and talked to President Xi Jinping and senior Chinese defense officials in early September.
Fan Changlong, vice-chairman of China's Central Military Commission, told Rice that the US military should reduce and ultimately stop "close-in reconnaissance".
Spokesman Geng told China Daily that during the meeting between Rice and Fan, the two sides endorsed the consensus made by the two leaders in June 2013 about building two mutual trust mechanisms.
The mechanisms are a mutual report mechanism of major military actions and a code of conduct for military security in, and over, international waters.
After Xi and Obama met at Sunnyland, California, in June 2013 for an informal meeting, top defense officials from both sides have met several times and spoken positively about the two mechanisms.
"Both sides agreed the two trust-building mechanisms are conducive and meaningful to strengthening the strategic mutual trust between China and the US. The progress should be accelerated, and periodical results are expected to be achieved soon," Geng said.
(China Daily USA 09/29/2014 page5)