By Guo Yuandan
BEIJING, Aug. 2 (ChinaMil) -- Chinese Ambassador to the US Cui Tiankai confirmed that China’s Defense Minister General Wei Fenghe will visit the US in the second half of this year. This means that China and the US maintain normal military relations which are still the stabilizer of the China-US relations.
On July 30, local time, the Chinese Embassy in the US held a reception celebrating the 91st anniversary of the founding of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA). At the reception, Cui said that China’s State Councilor and Defense Minister Wei Fenghe and Commander of the PLA Navy Vice Admiral Shen Jinlong will visit the United States in second half of this year. The Chinese and American militaries will expand their common interests under the principle of mutual respect and win-win cooperation, making their mil-to-mil relation become the “stabilizer” of China-US relations.
This news indicates that China-US military ties are currently normal, free from the impact of China-US trade war.
The evolution of the military ties between China and the US, the world’s two major powers, has always received much attention, especially since the start of the China-US trade war this year.
Particularly this year, the US has staged plenty of gamesmanship. It provoked China in the South China Sea and used this as an excuse for disinviting the PLA Navy from theRim of the Pacific (RIMPAC)-2018 exercise. The US also constantly meddled in cross-Straits relations and challenged China’s bottom line with the passage of Taiwan-related provisions in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
From June 26 to 28, the US Secretary of Defense James Mattis visited China, which was called "positive and constructive results". However, several days later, two American warships sailed through the Taiwan Straits, a second time since 2007.
On July 23, the US Congress reached agreements on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2019, with many terms involving China, such as a stronger US-Taiwan defense relationship and the studies of China’s "tough actions" in the South China Sea.
These US military measures made the China-US military ties obscure and uncertain. Yet seen from the high-level visits and exchanges, the China-US military relationship remains normal.
The high-level visits include the mutual visits between China’s Defense Minister and the US Secretary of Defense, and the visit of Shen Jinlong, commander the PLA Navy, to the US.
Concerning military exchanges, China’s Defense Ministry announced on July 26 that China and the US will jointly organize the Asia-Pacific Military Health Exchange 2018 in Xi’an, northwest China’s Shaanxi Province, from September 17 to 21. This would be the first event of its kind jointly held in China by the two militaries.
On August 1, a Chinese military expert told reporter that high-level mutual visits between the Chinese and American militaries fully demonstrate that their common interests are bigger than their differences. Normal relations help promote the development of their military ties, deepen mutual understandings, and avoid misjudgments.
According to Cui Tiankai, Vice Admiral Shen Jinlong’s trip to the US would be the PLA Navy Commander’s first visit to the US in recent five years. Most China-US military exchanges take place between the two navies. The PLA Navy has always been cooperative and willing to conduct exchanges with navies of other countries including the US, and Shen’s visit to the US must be part of a plan between the two navies.
According to a person familiar with China-US military relations, both China and the US hope that the two militaries meet each other half way and the mil-to-mil relationship maintains a good momentum of development. On this point, the two countries hold the same opinion. Both sides are fully aware of the importance of bilateral relations. The two countries must strive for win-win results instead of losses for both.
Disclaimer:The author is Guo Yuandan, reporter with the Global Times. The article is translated from Chinese into English by the China Military online. The information, ideas or opinions appearing in this article are those of the author from the Global Times and do not reflect the views of eng.chinamil.com.cn. Chinamil.com.cn does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same. If the article carries photographs or images, we do not vouch for their authenticity.