The Chinese military hopes the United States can work with China to facilitate exchanges and cooperation, properly manage risks and differences, and allow the military-to-military relationship to become a stabilizing factor for bilateral ties, a spokesman of the Ministry of National Defense said on Thursday.
China has always attached great attention to developing healthy and stable China-US military relations, which is in the interests of both nations and the common aspirations of the international community, Senior Colonel Ren Guoqiang said at a news briefing in Beijing.
Ren made the comment in response to US Army Secretary Mark Esper taking over from Patrick Shanahan as the acting Secretary of Defense in mid-June.
"We hope the US side can work with China in fulfilling the consensus reached by both state leaders and maintain the general trend of nonconfrontational, mutual respect and win-win cooperation in military relations," Ren said.
Ren's response came after negative rhetoric and military action from the US military regarding China's strategic intent and the Taiwan question.
In early June, the Pentagon unveiled its new Indo-Pacific strategy that promised a stronger military partnership with Taiwan to pressure the Chinese mainland. Last week, a US Navy P-8A Poseidon patrol jet flew over the Taiwan Straits for surveillance and reconnaissance.
Ren said the People's Liberation Army resolutely opposes the strategy report's negative rhetoric regarding China. "Peace, development and win-win cooperation are the trends of the time," he said.
Any security strategy that goes against current trends and damages the interests of other parties for selfish goals "will not win hearts and is doomed to backfire", Ren said.
A strategy should also avoid prompting confrontation.
"History has shown confrontation is never the solution, consultation is," Ren said. "Increasing military presence, hyping up an arms race and pushing military confrontation will only make the situation more intense and undermine world peace."
When asked about US officials' claims that China was trying to reshape the global order and challenge US dominance in Asia, Ren said China has no intention of following the path of global hegemony or competing for dominance with the US.
"The world is big enough for China and the US to coexist," Ren said. "China resolutely follows the peaceful path of development, and it has always been a contributor to world peace and world order."
However, the Taiwan question is related to China's core interests and the national bond of the Chinese people, and China will not allow foreign countries to meddle in its domestic affairs, Ren said. The Chinese military will resolutely safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity, he added.
"We advise some US officials to recognize the situation, keep up with the times, abandon the Cold War mentality, respect basic facts, and return to rationality and common sense," Ren said.
"They should also stop hyping up strategic competition between China and US to mislead the world, the media and themselves," he said. Ren added the US should take concrete action to facilitate the healthy and stable development of China-US military relations and bilateral ties.