News / USA

US, China Seek Harmony in Military Ties

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen, left, and China's Gen. Chen Bingde speak during a media availability at the Pentagon, Washington, May 18, 2011
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen, left, and China's Gen. Chen Bingde speak during a media availability at the Pentagon, Washington, May 18, 2011
William Ide

The United States and China held their highest-level military talks in seven years this week in Washington, during the visit of the chief of staff of the People's Liberation Army, General Chen Bingde. While military ties between the two countries have long lagged behind stronger relations in business and other areas, and pointed differences of view remain, the two sides say the frank talks have helped build understanding. 

Getting military-to-military ties more in tune with each other's views and interests was one of the main objectives of talks and exchanges this week between the U.S. and China. In addition to a joint performance by the two countries' bands, there were in-depth discussions between General Chen and his U.S. counterpart, Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

"I think the opportunity that is presented by virtue of us meeting and having these discussions is to validate our assumptions about each other," he said.

The threat that China's growing military might poses to the United States and other countries in the Asia-Pacific region is one big concern, and an area where assumptions differ.

General Chen dismissed such concerns at a news conference at the Pentagon Wednesday. He said a 20-year gap exists between the U.S. and Chinese militaries.

"Through my visits in the United States over the past couple days, I have been surprised by the sophistication of the U.S. military and its weapons and doctrines and so on," he said. "I can tell you that China does not have the capability to challenge the United States."

U.S. arms sales to Taiwan are a key issue of contention that General Chen raised, as well as the need for the U.S. to respect what China calls its "core interests."

China regards the self-ruled island as part of its own territory, and Chen repeated at the news conference that China would use force, if necessary, to ensure that the two unify.

However, General Chen said the fruits of these talks far outweigh the challenges.

"As I see it, cooperation is the mainstream between our two countries and two militaries," said General Chen. "We share a broad consensus on some major issues. Certainly we disagree on some other issues."

China froze military ties for most of 2010 after the United States approved a $6.4 billion arms deal with Taiwan. But in January of this year, Defense Secretary Robert Gates visited China, and relations appear to be on the mend.

Still, the United States is reviewing a proposed deal to sell Taiwan advanced F-16 fighter jets. General Chen said that if the deal is approved, it will definitely have an impact on U.S. China relations.

Admiral Mullen says Chen invited him to visit China during their talks and that he plans to do so in the near future. During their talks, the two sides agreed to hold a disaster and humanitarian relief exercise next year as well as boost maritime cooperation including holding a counter-piracy exercise.

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two 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.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs