Talks aim at averting military incidents
United States and Chinese military officials held talks in Shanghai yesterday aimed at avoiding incidents at sea or in international air space, such as the mid-air collision between US and Chinese planes off Hainan Island last year.
The three days of talks, which began on Wednesday, cover the conduct of forces on the high seas and in international air space.
They are the second round of discussions since the collision between a US Navy EP-3 surveillance plane and a Chinese fighter in international air space last year.
That incident led to the death of the Chinese pilot and the emergency landing of the US plane on Hainan Island. The detention of the US crew and plane created a standoff that strained Sino-US relations.
A US Consulate official said the Military Maritime Consultative Agreement talks were continuing but gave no details of the discussions or the atmosphere in which they were conducted.
The US and China signed the Military Maritime Consultative Agreement in 1998 with the aim of discussing 'rules of the road' at sea to avoid incidents between US and Chinese navies.
Rear-Admiral William Sullivan is leading the US delegation to the talks, which were last held in Guam in September.
The Chinese delegation is led by the deputy chief of staff of the PLA's navy, according to US officials in Washington.
Last year's Hainan incident highlighted the risk of similar incidents occurring in times of tension between the two military powers.
Washington said Chinese fighter pilots had used unsafe and aggressive flying tactics as its surveillance planes flew missions off the mainland coast. China claimed the US plane made an abrupt turn, causing the collision.
US defence officials have said Chinese fighter planes continued to shadow US surveillance flights along the Chinese coastline, but the harassing flights had ceased.