China: New Starting Point With US 01/28 06:26
BEIJING (AP) -- Putting frictions aside for now, China says relations
between the Chinese and U.S. militaries are at a "new historical starting
point" and should focus on cooperation and avoiding confrontations.
Defense Ministry spokesperson Col. Wu Qian said Thursday that under former
President Donald Trump, military-to-military relations "faced many risks and
challenges" but the sides now have an opportunity to reset ties.
Wu said the two sides held a teleconference on Tuesday and Wednesday on the
tracing of U.S. prisoners of war and those missing in action from previous
Asian conflicts, and "exchanged in-depth views on cases of concern to the U.S.
side and cooperation between the two militaries, reflecting the importance
China attaches to U.S. concerns in the humanitarian field."
"At present, China-U.S. military relations stand at a new historical
starting point," Wu told reporters at a monthly briefing.
Such positive-sounding language fuels perceptions that China's leaders are
hoping for a fresh start in relations and a more civil discourse with
Washington after years of rancor, even while deep divisions remain.
China resents U.S. support for Taiwan, the self-governing island democracy
it claims as its own territory to be conquered by force if necessary, along
with the U.S. military presence in the South China Sea and what it sees as a
broad-based U.S. campaign to restrain its growth.
The U.S. says it does not recognize China's claim to virtually the entire
South China Sea, accuses China of bullying its neighbors and maintains strong
alliances or other relationships with Chinese regional rivals such as India,
Australia, South Korea and Japan.
The two sides have sought to reduce the chance of conflicts through
agreements on unexpected encounters at sea and in the air, but risky incidents
continue to occur. While the U.S. disinvited China from its multinational
RIMPAC naval drills in 2018, the two sides have had a limited amount of
cooperation in non-traditional military fields such as search and rescue and
"It is hoped that the U.S. side, in the same spirit of professionalism, will
meet China halfway, properly handle China's concerns in the field of
military-to-military relations, strengthen communication, control risks, avoid
crises and push forward bilateral military-to-military relations on the right
track," Wu said.