News / Asia

Chinese Army Chief to Visit the United States

Chief of the general staff of China's People's Liberation Army, Gen. Chen Bingde (File Photo)
Chief of the general staff of China's People's Liberation Army, Gen. Chen Bingde (File Photo)
William Ide

A top military official from China is scheduled to visit the United States this week on the first such high-level visit in seven years.  The delegation is expected to include several high-ranking Chinese military leaders who will hold talks with U.S. military leaders that officials and analysts say will focus on building trust between the two countries.  

Although 2010 was a difficult year for military relations with China, Sino-American defense ties appear to be on the mend.

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates visited China in January, the two countries held talks in Beijing early last month as well as last week during the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue meetings here in Washington.  This week, Chen Bingde, the chief of the general staff of the People's Liberation Army, is here for a week-long visit.

China's Defense Ministry spokesman Geng Yansheng says Chen's visit will focus on advancing bilateral military relations and that officials will discuss regional as well as global issues. "The Chinese side believes that to push military relations forward, the key is for China and the United States to respect and accommodate each other's core interests and major concerns, and to appropriately handle disputes and sensitive issues.  China stands ready to work together with the United States, enhancing dialogue and exchange, increasing mutual understanding and building up mutual trust," he said.

During his visit to the United States, Chen will meet with his U.S. counterpart, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Michael Mullen, as well as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and U.S. lawmakers.

Abe Denmark, an Asia security analyst and former country director for China affairs at the Pentagon, says the visit is significant. "It's an important sign that both sides see our military to military relationship is important," he said.

Denmark says that China has several goals for this trip, to show that its military relationship with the United States is strong, to advance its message that it has peaceful intentions, while engaging the United States on a broad range of issues, and to learn.  "[China wants] to talk to American military leaders and other leaders throughout the U.S. government and to learn how the United States thinks about China and how the United States thinks about an increasingly multipolar world," he said.

As for the United States, Denmark says it will likely use the talks to show how it is open and transparent, and that bilateral communication is essential. "As China rises and becomes more powerful, communication between China and the United States is going to become increasingly central to sustaining regional and international stability," he said.

Maintaining sustained Sino-American military ties has been challenging.  At various times, Beijing has suspended military relations when disputes have arisen with the United States.  Most recently, it froze military ties with the United States for much of last year, after President Barack Obama approved a $6.4 billion arms deal to Taiwan.

Arms sales to Taiwan have long been a major sticking point in Sino-American relations and analysts say China will likely raise the issue during this week's talks.

China wants the United States to end all arms sales to Taiwan, which it considers a part of its own territory.  But under U.S. law, Washington is obligated to provide weapons systems to the island to help it meet its defensive needs.

Analysts like Abe Denmark say that such disagreements are why the two sides need to meet regularly and build understanding. "I think that understanding is improving.  That being said, I do think that several significant disagreements remain and there are areas within those disagreements where we need to better understand one another in order to reduce chances of misunderstanding and miscalculation," he said.

China's state-run Xinhua news agency says that during Chen's visit this week, he will deliver an address at the National Defense University in Washington and that his delegation will visit several U.S. military installations.  According to the report, a Chinese defense official praised such visits, noting that some of the sites on this week's agenda have not accepted visiting military leaders in years.

You May Like

Nigeria Incumbent in Tight Spot as Poll Nears

Muhammadu Buhari is running a strong challenge to Goodluck Jonathan, amid a faltering economy and Boko Haram security worries More

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo tells VOA that despite her fame, life is still a struggle as she waits for government's promise of support to arrive More

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

At least seven different indigenous groups in Ratanakiri depend mainly on forest products for their survival, say they face loss of their land, traditional way of life More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More