Fine twist in Sino-US military ties

Updated: 2014-06-26 07:34

By Zhang Junshe(China Daily)

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The two navies will hold a medical forum on China's Peace Ark and the USNS Mercy (America's hospital ship), where personnel from the two sides will interact with each other - the first such interaction between Chinese and US military hospital ships. Also, China will host open days on its vessels to enable military personnel from other countries, including the US, to visit them.

These moves will not only demonstrate that China has a transparent military policy, but also deepen other countries' understanding about the People's Liberation Army Navy and signal the start of multilateral cooperation to maintain world peace. The 2014 Rim of Pacific joint drill has offered China a unique opportunity to tell the world that its navy is committed to maintaining regional peace and stability, and not to establishing hegemony.

Responding to rising challenges to its sovereignty over islands and its maritime rights in the East China Sea and the South China Sea in the past couple of years, China has taken some counter-measures that involved its navy. Certain countries have used this as an excuse to promote Washington's "pivot to Asia" policy and drive a wedge between Beijing and Washington. Some senior US officials have even passed improper remarks against China's legal actions, affecting bilateral ties at a time when interactions between the two countries and their militaries are the need of the hour.

As the largest developed and developing countries, the US and China are very important for peaceful global development, and their relationship has a direct impact on global peace and stability. Thanks to mutual efforts, though, the two sides have achieved breakthroughs over the past years. For example, their defense ministers have exchanged visits and the two sides have established a mechanism to report military incidents to each other. In fact, last year saw a record number of military cooperation programs.

The two countries do have differences and disagreements, but they are willing to build mutual trust and clear the misunderstandings. In this sense, China's participation in Rim of Pacific drill can be seen as a result of improved bilateral military relations. The future, it is hoped, will see better Sino-US military relations, which will enable the two sides to better maintain peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond.

The author is a researcher at People's Liberation Army Naval Military Studies Research Institute.

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