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Interview: U.S., China seek to advance military-to-military ties in strategic talks


10:35, July 08, 2013

WASHINGTON, July 7 (Xinhua) -- As U.S. and Chinese officials are to meet for their fifth Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED) this week, some American experts say both sides are likely to use the mechanism trying to advance military-to-military relationship between the two countries.

Jonathan Pollack, director of the John L. Thornton China Center at Brookings Institution, told Xinhua in a recent interview that significant progress has been made since the two militaries began their regular contacts several years ago, and in fact, the relationship of the two militaries is in a "more comfortable" spot right now.

"There are a number of references from a number of senior (U.S.) military officials have made about (Deputy Chief of General Staff of the People's Liberation Army of China) Qi Jianguo as interlocutor, there seems to be a comfort level with him that is very, very promising," said Pollack, "From my understanding there' s an effort to diversify and further develop" the military-to- military relationship between the two countries.

Military-to-military relationship between the United States and China has seen great strides in recent years. During their summit last month in California, Chinese President Xi Jinping and his U.S. counterpart Barack Obama agreed to find a new way to manage their differences and actively foster a new type of military relations commensurate with the new type of major-country relationship.

Pollack said President Xi's "personal identification with this issue" bodes well for the talks ahead. He said disagreements between the two sides persist, but only "to the degree both sides recognize the strategic stakes, recognize that you cannot have a stable, long-term U.S.-China relationship if the military to military relationship is somehow outside that process."

There's likely "an increased effort to try to... find more rules of the road" and define an overall pattern that "issues with the moment" do not disrupt or interfere with overall military to military relationship, said Pollack.

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