Chinese general presents gifts

Updated: 2014-05-15 10:52

By Chen Weihua in Washington (China Daily USA)

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Chinese general presents gifts

General Fang Fenghui, chief of the General Staff of China's People's Liberation Army, speaks at a book exchange ceremony at the US National Defense University in Washington on Wednesday. At right is NDU President Major General Gregg Martin. Chen Weihua / China Daily

Chinese and US militaries are trying to increase mutual understanding, this time through books.

At the US National Defense University (NDU) on Wednesday afternoon, Fang Fenghui, chief of General Staff of China's People's Liberation Army, presented 19 different books - a total of 350 copies - to Major General Gregg Martin, president of NDU.

The books cover a wide range of Chinese history, culture, politics and military subjects.

"I believe such academic exchange is also an important aspect for the development of bilateral military-to-military relationship," Fang told several dozen Chinese and US participants at the ceremony.

He said he hoped the two countries' National Defense universities would play a role by further strengthening their exchanges.

"Some of the books, such as the Art of War by Sun Tzu, may look familiar to you, as I heard President Martin saying that the school teaches the book," Fang said.

President Martin echoed Fang's words, saying Sun Tzu is his favorite strategist and he is looking forward to reading the book.

In return, Martin presented General Fang with eight books written by NDU's faculty and students on Chinese militaries, US-China strategic relations as well as US military history.

Fang said when the China-US relations entered a critically important historical period, the two nations' leaders, President Xi Jinping and President Obama, reached a consensus in building a new type of major country relationship and the corresponding new type of military relationship.

"Abiding by the principle of no conflict, no-confrontation, mutual respect and win-win is the right path for the two nations and two militaries in building their relationship in this new historic period," he said.

Fang believes that although the bilateral ties regarding the two nations and two militaries have experienced twists and turns, the relationship has generally been moving forward.

"I always believe the future will be better and brighter," he said, adding that both sides should consolidate, maintain and develop the positive momentum in the relationship.

President Martin described the books he received as timely strategic wisdom to build bridges of knowledge and to strengthen security and peace.

"So these are the best possible investment you can make in building this relationship and trust, to make a better world between our two great nations," he said.

Fang is paying a five-day visit to the US at the invitation of General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who visited China in April last year at the invitation of Fang.

On Tuesday, Fang visited the US Third Fleet in San Diego, California, and met Admiral Samuel Locklear, commander of US Pacific Command, who escorted Fang on a tour of the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan. Fang also visited the littoral combat ship USS Coronado and the US Marine Corps Recruit Depot.

Fang and Dempsey will hold talks on Thursday before meeting the press. Then Fang will depart for a visit of the US Army Forces Command in Ft Bragg, North Carolina.

Cheng Li, a senior fellow and director of the John L. Thornton China Center at the Brookings Institution, said that the visit by Fang is very important because it comes at a time when the bilateral relationship has been experiencing some difficulties.

"There was a mood of discontent on both sides. Obama's trip has been interpreted by some as targeting China and containing China," he said.

"Under such circumstances, the visit by senior Chinese military official is very important, especially when he talks with the US on regional security issues,"

Li said, advising people not to oversimplify while interpreting each other's policies.

Wu Xinbo, director of Center for American Studies at Fudan University in Shanghai, said bilateral military relationship has gained a lot of momentum in the last two years.

"This kind of positive development would help mutual understanding between the two militaries and avoiding possible miscalculation and misjudgment when there is an incident occurred in the air or sea," he said.

Wu believes the leaders of the two nations are committed to a better future for Sino-US relations.