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China-US Hotline
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China and the United States will reach a final decision on a hotline between China's Defense Ministry and the US Defense Department in September. The decision will be made when Zhang Qinsheng, deputy-chief of the general staff of the Chinese People's Liberation Army, visits the US for the ninth Sino-American defense talks.

Zhang was at the Asian security forum in Singapore over the weekend, clarifying China's peaceful development strategy and defense policy.

If in place, the hotline will help improve military relations between the two countries as the Pentagon grows increasingly wary of China's modernization move to upgrade its military. The Pentagon's annual report on China's military described the nation as a military threat to the US.

At the conference in Singapore, US Defense Secretary Robert Gates' optimism on future relations between China and the US indicated the possibility of better communication.

Both China and the US have called for a more detailed military dialogue. It is important for avoiding miscalculations. Gates asked for more transparency on the part of the Chinese. At the same time, China deserves trust from the US.

With talks well under way on economic and other fronts, the establishment of a direct telephone link between the two defense headquarters would help the two communicate better.

"As we gain experience in dealing with each other, relationships can be forged that will build trust over time," Gates told the forum.

It is hoped that the two countries will build real trust so that misunderstandings will disappear. Gates' comment on dialogue, a useful tool in helping countries with different ideologies better understand each other, was constructive.

The US has kept asking China what its military intentions are. China's answers, however, have fallen on deaf ears.

With a military hotline in the offing, the US military will get more chances to talk to its Chinese counterpart. It is expected that the conversations will be convincing to the US and the rest of the world.

Time reveals a person's character. The fact that China's peaceful development strategy has won the hearts of Asian countries, as expressed by Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, is a case in point.

China has no intention of challenging other countries politically, economically or militarily.

(China Daily June 4, 2007)

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