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  • Dec 21, 2014
  • Updated: 12:17am
NewsChina

US, China to expand military exchanges despite sea row

Countries try to build more stable ties

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 20 August, 2013, 12:33pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 20 August, 2013, 11:18pm

The United States and China agreed on Monday to expand military exchanges and exercises as part of efforts to build more stable ties, despite tensions over cybersecurity and East Asian territorial disputes.

US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel and Chinese Defence Minister Chang Wanquan spelled out plans this year for senior American officers to visit China, counter-piracy drills in waters near Somalia and a humanitarian rescue exercise near Hawaii.

Their talks at the Pentagon represent efforts by Washington and Beijing to find constructive ways to deal with strains over reported Chinese cyberattacks against US government agencies and businesses. There are also growing concerns about China’s assertiveness in territorial disputes with US allies in Asia, notably Japan and the Philippines.

Hagel said he and Chang wanted to build “a sustained, substantive military-to-military relationship” to bolster ties between the world’s two biggest economies.

Our goal is to build trust between our militaries through cooperation
Chuck Hagel

“Our goal is to build trust between our militaries through cooperation,” Hagel told reporters.

Chang stressed a similar theme of cooperation with the United States in the Asia-Pacific, but also voiced concern about the US policy of shoring up its military presence and revitalising its alliances in the Pacific region.

“To a certain degree, these kinds of intensified military activities further complicated the situation in the region,” the Chinese general said through an interpreter. “We hope that this strategy does not target a specific country in the region.”

Without mentioning rival claimants in disputes over maritime sovereignty in the South China Sea and East China Sea, Chang said “no one should underestimate our will and determination in defending our territory, sovereignty, and maritime rights.”

Hagel repeated Washington’s official position that it takes no stance on East Asian maritime sovereignty questions, but insists the disputes be addressed without the use of force.

US Army Chief of Staff General Raymond Odierno and Air Force Chief of Staff General Mark Welsh will visit China this year, and Admiral Wu Shengli, the commander of China’s navy, will travel to the United States, Hagel said.

The planned exchanges for this year will be followed next year by Hagel’s first visit to China as Pentagon chief and China’s maiden participation in the Rim of the Pacific Exercise (RIMPAC), which is hosted by the United States and billed as the world’s largest international maritime warfare drill.

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caractacus
China wants to control the Western Pacific to grab all its natural resources and project political, economic and military power far beyond its legitimate borders. Its unprincipled maritime territorial grabs will not cease, it will simply try to use any relationship with the USA to further its selfish, nationalistic aims. The USA and its allies do not use the word containment, but that is exactly what they need to do to prevent smaller nations becoming dominated and abused by the new, 21st century fascist threat.

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