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Chinese Defense Minister's visit beneficial to Sino-US military ties

08-19-2013 13:55 BJT

General Chang's trip is aimed at fostering closer cooperation in areas like humanitarian disaster relief and both the US and China have been co-operating for years in other areas too like the anti-piracy initiative off the coast of Somalia in East Africa.

Banning Garrett, Senior Fellow, Atlantic Council Strat. Foresight Initiative, said, "There has been very good cooperation in the gulf of Aden for several years now in anti-piracy operations and a lot of discussions back and forth , I am told they have even communicated through email , they send sailors back and forth between the ships."

But the cooperation has not extended easily to the Asia Pacific region -As China’s military clout grows, the US envisages partnership in other areas too.

Banning Garrett, Senior Fellow, Atlantic Council Strat. Foresight Initiative, said, "Piracy concerns in the straits of Malacca , South China Sea, elsewhere, the overall question of securing sea lanes of communication - is very important to both countries."

The half a trillion US dollars in trade between the US and China should mean that joint policing of the sea lanes is an obvious area where the two militaries can work together. However US Security alliances with Japan and the Philippines and the competing claims over territory in the East and South China Sea complicate the relationship. The US rebalances to Asia and talks of bolstering forces in the Philippines have led to suspicions that US wants to contain China.

Banning Garrett, Senior Fellow, Atlantic Council Strat. Foresight Initiative, said, "We are not siding against China on any of these island disputes we simply don’t want to see them escalate into some kind of pointless conflict.”

Avoiding misunderstandings and building confidence through more military to military ties will be on the agenda when the two defense ministers meet at the Pentagon Monday. The two have already talked via a defense telephone link set up to improve and speed up communication. It’s hoped similar links can be established across the two militaries.
The US is also emphasizing China’s decision to participate in the Pacific Rim Exercises in 2014- it is the largest naval exercise in the world.

CCTV correspondent Nathan King, Washington, said, "Of course there are other sticking points too - cyber security is an area where both the US and China have agreed on the need for rules of the road when it comes to online intelligence gathering, but with the Edward Snowden affair still reverberating around Washington and the world , progress may be slow. "


Editor:James |Source:

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