News / Asia

US: Freeze in China Military Relations Over

A Pentagon spokesman says China has ended its eight-month freeze of military relations with the United States, agreeing to two sets of talks on defense issues in the coming months.  The agreement came during a visit to Beijing this week by a senior defense department official.

Defense Department spokesman Colonel David Lapan says China agreed to hold a session of talks focused on naval issues in Hawaii in mid-October, and a broader set of defense consultations in Washington later in the year.  These are regular, senior-level meetings that are part of the foundation of the U.S.-China defense relationship.

Lapan could not say what, if any, other meetings and exchanges will resume, but he said this when asked whether the freeze is over.

"I'd say yes.  We've agreed to resume these types of engagements," said Lapan.

US: Freeze in China Military Relations Over
US: Freeze in China Military Relations Over

Lapan says that means U.S.-China military relations are back on track.

"It's back to where we want it to be, which is resuming the mil-to-mil contacts and relationship.  And obviously our hope is that that continues, as the thing that we stressed in these meetings was that we need to get away from the 'on again, off again,' he said."

China froze its defense relations with the United States in January after approval of a $6 billion U.S. arms sale to Taiwan.  It was the second such move by Beijing in three years in response to such sales, prompting senior U.S. officials to call for an end to such retaliatory steps.  They say regular U.S.-China military contacts are needed to avoid misunderstandings as Beijing makes major advances in its military capabilities.

Colonel Lapan says that was the message Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Michael Schiffer took to China this week for meetings that resulted in Wednesday's announcement.  And Lapan says China seems to have agreed, at least for now.

"I can't speak for them.  But they did certainly agree that having these types of regular contacts and building this relationship was key to that trust and to avoid the miscommunication and miscalculation," said Lapan.

The colonel says the possibility of a visit to China by U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates was discussed during the Schiffer talks, but there was no decision.  Gates had been expected to visit China in June, but China did not allow the visit as part of the freeze.

A report from Beijing by China's official Xinhua News Agency on Tuesday said defense talks will resume, but did not provide the specifics the Pentagon reported on Wednesday.

The Xinhua report quoted Chinese defense official Qian Lihua as telling Secretary Schiffer the two defense establishments will resume exchanges "to jointly promote the healthy and stable development of military relations."  But Qian did not commit to an end to retaliatory freezes, saying military relations "face problems" that need to be "solved urgently," and that "safeguarding the stability of China-U.S. military relations should be shouldered by both sides."

That would appear to be a warning that future American arms sales to Taiwan could result in more interruptions of U.S.-China military relations.  When the United States shifted its diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing in 1978, it made a commitment to help provide Taiwan with the means to defend itself.  In June, Secretary Gates noted that the Taiwan arms sales are not new, and said their impact on U.S.-China military relations depends on whether Chinese leaders "want to make a big deal out of it or not."

You May Like

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

Judge Declares Washington DC Ban on Public Handguns Unconstitutional

Ruling overturns capital city's prohibition on carrying guns in pubic More

Pricey Hepatitis C Drug Draws Criticism

Activists are using the International AIDS Conference to criticize drug companies for charging high prices for life-saving therapies 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.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid