Commander-in-Chief of the US Pacific Command Timothy Keating
said in Beijing on Tuesday that the United States adheres to the
He made the remarks at a press conference at the US Embassy to
China in Beijing before he visited the Chinese Academy of Military
Sciences. He noted that the US position on the Taiwan issue was, is
and will be as expressed in 1979, there is only one China.
Keating, who arrived in Beijing on Sunday for a four-day
visit, said such a position was "constant".
His trip came as part of increasing high-level military
exchanges between China and the United States. This was his second
visit since last May.
During his visit, Keating met respectively with Central Military
Commission (CMC) Vice Chairman Guo Boxiong, Deputy Chief of the General Staff
of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Ma Xiaotian, and Foreign
Minister Yang Jiechi.
"The purpose of our visit was to continue to build upon
relationships that we had begun when we were here in May," Keating
He added he had a series of very "productive, informative and
interesting, candid, forthright and enlightening discussions" with
Chinese officials. They covered issues on Taiwan, China's military
capability development and bilateral military exchanges.
Keating noted US and Chinese officials discussed the Taiwan
issue, upcoming elections there, and some narrow issues. The US
position, as the country had emphasized, is "constant", there is
but one China. The United States pays close attention to the
development on both sides of the Taiwan Straits and all throughout
the Asia-Pacific region.
The fundamental goal of the US Pacific Command is to make sure a
war doesn't happen in this region. "We will watch carefully and
evaluate any element we see as destabilizing."
Keating said it was not just unilateral, bilateral or
multilateral. All countries in this area have a responsibility to
make sure to the very best of their ability that there is not
conflict, but there is better understanding, better communication,
collaboration and cooperation across the entire spectrum of
The US side proposed Chinese participation in multilateral
exercise in May in Thailand. The Chinese colleagues said they would
entertain that, Keating said.
He said the United States hoped to increase both quantity and
quality and sophistication of joint exercises and wanted to
increase the amount, volume, the quality of the exchanges between
the two militaries so as to have a better fundamental
Keating told the press he believed he had developed honest and
true friendship with a couple of senior Chinese officials, though
they acknowledged differences.
"We want them to know our concerns and develop a kind of
relationship that they know we are not the slightest bit interested
in a conflict. Rather, we are interested in collaboration and
cooperation," he stressed.
Ding Jingong, deputy head of the Foreign Affairs Office of
China's Ministry of National Defense, said "Keating's attitude on
the Taiwan issue is positive, and will help improve military
cooperation between us."
He said China also held a positive attitude toward developing
Sino-US military relations.
"High-level visits like this will boost understanding and mutual
trust. The two exchanged opinions on a wide range of issues, which
would help prepare for practical cooperation," Ding said.
According to Ding, Keating offered many plans for Sino-US
military exchanges. For example, he suggested exchange programs for
young and middle-aged officers and senior non-commissioned officers
between the two countries. He called for mutual visits of naval
ships and hoped to arrange observation of multinational and
bilateral military drills.
Keating is also scheduled to visit Shanghai and Hong Kong.
(Xinhua News Agency January 16, 2008)