China-US military cooperation needed for world peace, security

08:18, January 13, 2011      

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U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates' current China visit not only focuses on China-U.S. military ties but also plays a vital role in improving overall bilateral relations.

Both state and military leaders in China addressed the importance of maintaining stable military relations between the two countries and affirmed that bilateral military ties must be based on the construction and maintenance of a stable political foundation, i.e. mutual respect of territorial integrity, security and interest.

Both sides need to make joint efforts in solving the structural military conflict to avoid a cycle of antagonism.

China and the United States should work together this time on furthering military cooperation. The two must focus on fulfilling promises as well as expanding cooperation, mutual tolerance and two-way transparency.

Fulfilling political promises made to one another is the political foundation for maintaining Sino-U.S. relations. Three Sino-U.S. joint communiqués and a Sino-U.S. Joint Statement signed in 2009 embodied the mutual political promise made to each other. Observance of the above-mentioned documents requires agreement not only in words but in deeds.

The preconditions for the stable development of bilateral relations and the safeguarding of bilateral military ties from cyclical attack are that both sides should not make belligerent actions and harm each other's core interests.

Expanding cooperation happens in the context that the United States and China, the world's largest and second largest economies, respectively, have broad prospects in maintaining global security, peace, stability and prosperity as the two countries share more and more interests. The most pressing and easiest task now is to jointly cope with all kinds of security threats and challenges in a non-traditional sense.

China and American military can cooperate in a wide range of fields, such as humanitarian aid, combating pirates and disaster relief. They can also complement and learn from each other. As conditions ripen, the cooperation can cover traditional security, such as maintaining safety in sea routes, regional crisis management and control. Two militaries can also gradually cement ties through deepening cooperation.

Mutual tolerance means both sides acknowledge and never challenge each other's legal space and interests, including the development of military forces. The People's Liberation Army (PLA) is not capable and could never attempt to challenge the United States' advantage in regional and global military maneuvers, nor does China plan to seek regional military hegemony.

China's military modernization is in line with national security and development. At the same time, it offers security to the world. China will never bully the weak by sheer strength.

Meanwhile, it also carries the meaning of having vision. The world, the Pacific and the West Pacific are big enough for Sino-U.S. military development and maneuvers. The two sides should also strengthen exchanges at various levels, expand mutual strategic trust, avoid a zero-sum mentality and create a win-win scenario.

Two-way transparency means both sides should seek sincere cooperation rather than harboring confrontational attempt. The military strength determines there is no absolute transparency because the two sides must plan for the worst in everything beforehand. However, strategic development and military operation without enough transparency will lead to a security dilemma.

The lack of strategic mutual trust between the two militaries is the result of the United States' incomparable military strength, strengthened military presence in Asia-Pacific region, adjustment of military deployment, arms sales to Taiwan and its call to all Western countries to impose an embargo on China's weapons and military technologies. All the while, it criticizes China's legally-sanctioned pursuit of military modernization. Such actions will only aggravate suspicion rather than deepening two-way transparency.

We believe that Sino-U.S. military relations will head to a more bright future in strengthening strategic mutual trust as long as the two sides adhere to the principle of safeguarding global and regional peace, stability and prosperity as well as seek common ground on major issues while reserving differences on minor ones.

By Zhang Xinyi, People's Daily Online


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