News / Asia

Top US Officer Concerned About China's Military Buildup, Lack of Contact

Al Pessin

The top U.S. military officer says he is concerned about China's military buildup and its freeze of military relations with the United States.  The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, spoke Wednesday to the Asia Society in Washington.

Admiral Mullen said China is a legitimate regional power, but he said its recent moves to develop more modern and long-range military capabilities make him wonder about the intentions of Chinese leaders.  

"Their heavy investments of late in modern, expeditionary maritime and air capabilities seem oddly out of step with their stated goal of territorial defense," Mullen said. "Every nation has a right to defend itself and to spend as it sees fit for that purpose.  But a gap as wide as what seems to be forming between China's stated intent and its military programs leaves me more than curious about the end result.  Indeed, I have moved from being curious to being genuinely concerned."

Admiral Mullen said his concerns are heightened because Beijing has cut off military contacts with the United States again, to protest the most recent U.S. arms sale to Taiwan in January.  The United States is committed to continuing to help Taiwan maintain its ability to repel any attack from the mainland, but China says the arms sales hurt its efforts to press for national reconcilliation.

Admiral Mullen says cutting military ties with the United States is counterproductive.

"The question is: Should China and the U.S. work together, lead together, to promote regional stability?  Washington's answer is and has been an unequivocal 'yes'.  Beijing's answer has been sometimes 'yes' and sometimes 'no'," Mullen said.

The admiral indicated that military exchanges and meetings would help both sides understand the other's actions and intentions, and would reduce the likelihood of potentially dangerous misunderstandings.

His comments followed criticism of China's military last week by U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates.  On his way to a regional security conference in Singapore, Gates accused China's top military officers of not following the same policy as senior political leaders, who have worked to develop other aspects of the U.S.-China relationship.  But some experts say the Taiwan issue is more important to Chinese leaders that U.S. officials realize.

On Wednesday, Admiral Mullen said China and the United States share a responsibility to promote stability in the Pacific and need to work together to do so.

"I hope we may renew our military relationship with China, and I hope that their military leaders will join us in supporting efforts to reduce tension, increase trust and foster the sort of genuine and sustainable stability that the people who live and work in Asia so very much deserve," Mullen said.

Admiral Mullen also welcomed China's recognition of the seriousness of North Korea's sinking of a South Korean navy ship.  But at the same time, he criticized Chinese leaders for what he called their "tepid" response to the international community's request for support in holding North Korea accountable.   

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

America's Most Exotic Presidential Pets

From alligators to bears, the White House has been home to some unusual presidential pets over the years 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.
Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugeesi
X
Carolyn Weaver
July 06, 2015 6:47 PM
In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.

VOA Blogs