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  • Oct 25, 2014
  • Updated: 4:52pm
NewsChina
DEFENCE

Better Sino-US ties needed given rising risk of military clash, Chuck Hagel says

US defence chief warns communications must improve given growing risk of conflict as both Chinese and US forces in Asia Pacific expand

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 09 April, 2014, 6:10pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 10 April, 2014, 7:55am
 

US defence chief Chuck Hagel warned that communication was needed more than ever amid the heightened risk of a clash between China and the United States as the world's two largest militaries seek to bolster their presence in the Asia-Pacific region.

Hagel told officers and students at China's National Defence University that the US "pivot to Asia" and the People's Liberation Army's modernisation would draw the two sides into "closer proximity", increasing "risks of an incident, an accident or a miscalculation" unless they step up communication.

"The Asia-Pacific region is the most militarised in the world and any one of these challenges could lead to a conflict, a deadly conflict," Hagel said.

"The cost of conflict will rise as economic interdependence grows."

He called on the two militaries to establish a new relationship that stressed co-operation and dialogue.

"It seeks to manage competition, but avoid the traps of rivalry," he said. "We must do our part to build greater trust, confidence and co-operation between our two militaries."

Hagel cited the role of communication during the "near- catastrophe" at sea when the guided-missile cruiser USS Cowpens almost collided with a Chinese navy ship attached to vessels escorting the aircraft carrier Liaoning in December.

Hagel said the two vessels were only 42 metres apart and Cowpens was forced to take evasive action. Liaoning's captain, Zhang Zheng, who had visited the US, was apparently able to smooth things over via radio communication because he was familiar with US navy operating procedures.

Hagel also talked about a friendly encounter in October between the USS Curtis Wilbur and the PLA frigate Putian, whose captains chatted about American songs such as Hotel California and basketball while they sailed about 12 nautical miles from each other.

Watch: US defence chief holds talks with Chinese counterpart

Hagel and Defence Minister Chang Wanquan had earlier squared off on a range of thorny issues at a joint news briefing after their meeting at PLA headquarters.

During Hagel and Chang's closed-door meeting, they discussed issues including US arms sales to Taiwan and cybersecurity, but mainly focused on Washington's growing military presence in Asia, which worries Beijing amid its disputes with neighbours over islands in the East and South China Seas.

Hagel, who is in China on a three-day visit, suggested the US would not meddle in territorial disputes in the region and was not out to contain China.

But he reminded Beijing that Washington had security treaties with Japan and the Philippines that required it to provide backup in case of conflict.

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limpanlinus@gmail.com
Just a question . U here accuse Japan to be an extremist country. Is not your own comments here show u are equaly extremist to. You here semes to Think that China own all of Asia right? And everyone that have an view that not is same as China have is an enemy .
honger
"that Washington had security treaties with Japan and the Philippines that required it to provide backup in case of conflict."
So, u still backup fascists and psychophants because they are your so called "friends" while innocents suffer? Like in Kiev, right?
J R
In Europe the US is pivoting to hell. In the Middle East the US is also pivoting to hell. In Asia the US is also pivoting to hell. Snake Obama should go to hell.
baysidedweller
Hagel said the US would not meddle in territorial disputes in the region and was not out to “contain China”, saying the US took no position on rival territorial claims.
If not meddle in territorial disputes, then why warn China?
If not out to "contain China", then why pivot to Asia??? Just for the fun of it?
Took no position on rival territorial clams- BUT US (arbitrarily) gave the administrative rights of the islands to Japan instead of Taiwan/China.
Talking from both sides of the mouth as usual.
I Gandhi
The US strategy of using the psychopathic Japanese and Filipinos as trouble makers is really stupid. It's just like cutting of the nose to spike the face. The psychopathic Japanese and Filipinos will one day stab the US in the back just like Pearl Harbour 1941.
Rambo
A security treaty with Japan notwithstanding, the US should realise that protecting and supporting Japan over the Diaoyu Islands which is Chinese territory is wrong. Not only does it encourages the fascist government of Japan and Shinzo Abe to be belligerent, it also puts the US in an untenable position should Japan provoke even more conflicts. Trying to contain China with the Japanese bogeyman is an act of folly. Japan is too recalcitrant and extremist and would be better constrained by the Pacifist Constitution. Even ordinary Japanese knows the Japanese government with scums like Abe cannot be trusted.
 
 
 
 
 

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