Facebook Twitter 新浪微博 google plus Instagram YouTube Wednesday 21 October 2015

Aircraft carrier Liaoning tour by US navy demonstrates China’s sincerity

By Yu Ning (Global Times)    09:25, October 21, 2015
Aircraft carrier Liaoning tour by US navy demonstrates China’s sincerity
The Liaoning, China's first aircraft carrier. (File Photo)

A delegation of US navy officers visited the Liaoning, China's first aircraft carrier, on Monday. The tour is part of an annual exchange program between the Chinese and US navies. Amid the simmering South China Sea disputes, the US tour to the Liaoning sent a positive signal as it displays both sides' willingness for more military changes.

The Liaoning has been viewed by Western countries as a sign of Beijing's growing ambition for greater global influence. But since China put the People's Liberation Army's first carrier into service, it has not kept the flattop hidden away.

In April 2013, a group of civilians and businesspeople visited the aircraft carrier. Last April, US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel stepped on board the carrier at the beginning of a three-day visit to China. The fact that a top US military official was invited to take a close look at the sole Chinese aircraft carrier was seen as a sign of China's sincerity in promoting military exchanges with the US and advancing greater military transparency. Hagel is not the only senior Western official to have boarded the vessel. Bernard Rogel, chief of staff of the French Navy, also toured the Liaoning during his visit to China this April.

For China, how to advance military transparency is sensitive. Western countries put mounting pressure on China for greater military transparency. But China should maintain its own pace to realize it. China's military strength, although it has rapidly developed in recent years, still has a certain gap with some superior military powers such as the US.

In recent years, China has taken the initiative in making public a slew of sophisticated military technologies, the service of its carrier, and it issued its defense white papers on a regular basis. With reform and opening-up, China has made strides in military modernization and transparency, but it keeps a low-profile in order not to fuel the hype of the "China threat" theory. Unfortunately, a low-profile stance seemingly has failed to curb the noise.

Countries like the US have suspicions toward China's rising military strength. They are concerned about whether China's growing military might pose a threat. To disperse those misgivings, efforts are needed to build mutual trust through enhancing military exchanges and cooperation.

Given the South China Sea disputes, China and the US in particular should intensify military exchanges to deepen mutual understanding and reduce misunderstanding and misjudgment at sea. The tour to the Liaoning by the US delegation is a good step which displays China's sincerity in military exchanges with the US and China's military confidence. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Editor:Liang Jun,Bianji)

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