November 5th heralds a very vital, important day as far as the Sino-US military relationship is concerned. On that day, Cao Gangchuan, minister of national defense, and his US counterpart, the visiting Defense Secretary Robert Gates, agreed to put up direct-dial telephones in the Chinese ministry of National Defense and Pentagon (the headquarters of the US Defense Department), and this poses the China-U.S. military hotline that has attracted global attention.
It represents the first-ever high-level military hotline the People's Liberation Army of China (PLA) has established with armed forces in other countries, and it signifies that the development of Sino-US military ties has scaled another new height.
A lot of media and correspondents both in China and overseas are overjoyed with the hotline and have given it a very positive appraisal; they refer to it as a "safety line" between the two militarily-strong nations, which is also a "safeguard"for security of the world, and of East Asia in particular.
US Republican Representative Mark Kirk of Illinois, who was also the co-chair of the China-US Working Group under the House, said: "We feel it is very important for the institution to get this done" as China has already become such a great strong nation.
The institution of China-US defense hotline is of very positive and constructive significance to the growth of the relations between two militaries and the enhancement of Sino-US international cooperation.
First of all, the Sino-US military hotline is expected to play a "stimulating" role in stepping up the exchanges and cooperation between the two militaries. The defense hotline is often regarded as a "weathervane" in military diplomacy. In recent years, exchanges and dialogues between the armed forces of the two nations have kept expanding and their high-level strategic dialogues gone on in an in-depth, penetrating way with a frequent mutual induction at all levels.
At a news conference on March 7, 2007, Robert Gates said, to the U.S., its contact with China in varied aspects of bilateral fies, as one of the ways to build up the mutual trust, was very vital and important. So the military hotline between the two nations opened up a useful, significant passage for the continuous future development of dialogues between the armed forces of both nations.
The hotline will surely help elevate the administration layers and levels to cope with possible crises between the two nations. China and the U.S., both big global nations, bear crucial responsibilities in safeguarding regional and world peaces. The precondition for Sino-US bilateral cooperation, however, is precisely to build their mutual trust, so as to positively affect the normal growth of bilateral relations.
The institution of the China-US military hotline is aimed to ward off harassments by any possible, unexpected crises and heighten the capability of both sides in their crisis management and control capabilities. Hence, in term of significance and function, the hotline has not only a symbolic importance but a very vital, substantial role to play.
The China-US defense hotline will give scope to the role of spurring the situation of peace and stability across the world. In recent years, the international peace and development has been faced increasingly with complex and stark challenges with a sustained rise in the non-traditional factors and interwoven with factors of traditional security and non-traditional security.
Meanwhile, China and the U.S. have reinforced cooperation and coordinated their stances or positions in these years on a range of global security issues and have contributed positively to the promotion of regional and global peace and security. Consequently, the further enhancement of Sino-US military ties poses, beyond any doubt, the "Gospel", or glad tidings for world peace.
The military hotline is bound to help dissolve "China Military Threat Theory" positively. The "China Military Threat Theory" has all along been a grave "hurdle" to hinder the growth of Sino-US bilateral military ties. At a two-day conference on Asia security held in Singapore in early June this year, General Peter Pace, chairman of the US joint chiefs of staff, conceded frankly that some Pentagon experts working on China reports have never been to China, not knowing anything about the country's traditional defense culture of the defensive nature or the aspiration of the entire people of the nationfor peaceful development.
In a nutshell, it can be said that the China-US military hotline is sure to add more mutual military trust to the security cooperation of the two nations and in the Asia-Pacific region as a whole, and it will play a still more positive role in enhancing the high-level military exchanges and cooperation, further increasing their mutual trust, and dispelling any of their doubts or suspicions.
By Wang Xinjun, a noted research fellow with the War Theory and Strategy Studies Dept. affiliated to the PLA Academy of Military Sciences, and translated by People's Daily Online