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China's participation in 2014 Pacific Rim exercise helps regional peace and stability

(China Military Online)

13:25, June 28, 2013

BEIJING, June 27 (ChinaMil) – Chinese President Xi Jinping's meeting with U.S. President Obama at the Annenberg Estate in the United States in early June confirmed that China will be invited to participate in the 2014 Pacific Rim military exercise. In regard to this, public opinions generally believe that this move will promote the development of the relationship between China and the United States and their two militaries as well as the regional and world peace and stability.

Presently, the strategic importance of China-U.S. relationship continues to grow with each passing day. Military relationship is an important component of the relationship between countries. It is also a barometer for the relationship between countries. The establishment of new relations between the two big countries, China and the U.S., will necessarily require the relations between the two militaries to achieve development in correspondence. The meeting of heads of the two countries to confirm China's participation in the 2014 Pacific Rim military exercise has explained the fact that both countries have attached high level of importance to improving and developing the relationship between the two militaries.

A general survey of the process of the development of the relationship between the militaries of the two countries since the establishment of the China-U.S. diplomatic relationship 30 years ago shows that in general, the development of the relationship between the militaries of the two countries has lagged behind the development of the overall relationship between the two countries, the major reason of which is due to the lack of strategic trust between the two countries. The participation of the Chinese military in the U.S.-led 2014 Pacific Rim military exercise will pose the Chinese military in parallel with the U.S. military in visiting each other's warships and holding mutual observation and exchanges, which is beneficial to the elimination of misunderstandings, reduction of misjudgments, and enhancement of the mutual understanding and trust between the two militaries.

In terms of the contents, the drill subjects of the Pacific Rim military exercise have gradually extended from the simple coalition operation in its initial phase to the exploration of a multinational maritime military cooperation with an increasing growth in the proportion of drills in such non-traditional security fields as humanitarian assistance, maritime search and rescue, anti-piracy and so on. Both China and the United States have carried out exchanges and cooperation in these non-traditional security fields. It is conducive to the establishment of a "healthy, reliable, stable and sustainable relationship between the militaries of the two countries" as proposed by the U.S.

When announcing the invitation to China to participate in the 2014 Pacific Rim military exercise last September, Leon Panetta, the U.S. Defense Secretary at that time, stated that a strong partnership between the U.S. and China is imperative to the global security and prosperity in the 21st century. As long as the U.S. and China make joint efforts to build a long-standing basis for the relationship between the two countries and the two militaries, the real security and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region can then be fulfilled.

The improvement of the relationship between the militaries of China and the U.S. is not only needed for the development of China-U.S. relationship, but also in line with the fundamental interests of most countries in the Asia-Pacific region as well as the world. Most countries have made it clear that they do not wish to see a deteriorated relationship between China and the U.S., which would further push the countries in the region to "choose side". Nevertheless, the improvement of China-U.S. relationship and military-to-military relationship will help narrow down the space for some other individual countries to sow discord between China and the U.S. in a bid to muddy the water for personal gains. It is in this sense that China's participation in the Pacific Rim military exercise will help improve related countries' understanding of China's defense policy and military development as well, gradually resolve the "China military threat theory", reduce misunderstanding and misjudgment, and better safeguard the peace and stability of the region as well as the world.

By Zhang Junshe, deputy director of the Naval Military Academic Institute under the Navy of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLAN)

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