China, U.S. seek to repair military ties

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China Daily, December 15, 2010
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General Ma said there remain three hurdles in the relationship. He said the main problems are the US arms sales to Taiwan, Congress' restrictions on military exchanges between the two countries, and the US military surveillance operations in economic zones that China believes it has sovereignty over.

The US has been holding a number of military drills during over the past few months with its Asian allies near China, including a recent joint exercise with Japan.

After the January sales of arms to Taiwan, China lodged a slew of protests and said the arms sale hurt China's core interests.

In June, China rejected a proposed visit by Gates and said he would be invited "at a proper time".

Ties started to thaw in mid-October when Chinese Defense Minister Liang Guanglie met Gates in Hanoi before the inaugural meeting of Asia-Pacific defense ministers.

Zhao Xiaozhuo said Hu's visit will offer a solid platform from which to build Sino-US relations, but where it is headed is hard to say.

"The only thing that I'm sure is that there will be no extreme scene in the foreseeable future of the Sino-US relations," Zhao said.

Zhai Dequan, a professor with the China Institute of International Studies, said the talks "will help the two understand the situation correctly, and ensure it won't go worse, which is not welcomed by any side". He said the talks were a "bedding for easing the current tension".

Jonathan D. Pollack, a senior fellow with the John L. Thornton China Center and a specialist on East Asian international politics and security, said the Pentagon is trying to find a way to continue military-to-military exchanges and do not want to see ties interrupted by political differences on other issues.

"In the view of the US Defense Department, to have that uncertainty and instability is not healthy for the larger bilateral relationship as well as to the military-to-military level," he said.

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