WASHINGTON — A visiting high-ranking Chinese Army officer on Friday stressed the importance of developing a new type of military-to-military relationship with the United States, so to boost pragmatic cooperation in various spheres.
In an interview with Chinese media based in Washington, Cai Yingting, deputy chief of the General Staff of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, said that the two countries need to strive to implement the important consensus reached between Chinese President Hu Jintao and his US counterpart Barack Obama on constructing a new type of relationship between big powers, on the basis of mutual respect, equality, inclusiveness and win-win.
The Chinese officer said that the two sides have to make concrete efforts to overcome differences, increase mutual trust and deepen the China-US military relationship, which has been repeatedly interrupted by the US arms sales to Taiwan, including promoting exchange of visits by top officers, military professionals and students, and strengthening cooperation in conducting naval escort missions in the Gulf of Aden.
During meetings with senior US military and government officials, Cai also expressed China’s strong concerns and principled stand over issues related to China’s vital or core interests, such as sovereignty and security.
Cai said that the delegation reiterated China’s strong opposition to any application of the US-Japan security treaty to Diaoyu Islands, over which China has indisputable sovereignty.
He was commenting on the US stance that the Diaoyu Islands fall within the scope of the 1960 US-Japan Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security, under which Washington will provide assistance to Tokyo when the territories under Japan’s administration come under armed attack.
Cai emphasized that the Diaoyu Islands and their affiliated islands have been part of China’s inherent territory, and all the recent illegal activities by the Japanese, including the bid to “purchase” and the right-wing activists’ landing on the islands, are completely invalid.
In this regard, the Chinese delegation urged the US side to do more to safeguard peace in the Asia-Pacific region and maintain the overall good China-US relations.
He disclosed that US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is expected to visit China in September, and the Chinese side is making serious preparations for this trip in order to make it fruitful.
In addition to Cai, the high-level Chinese military delegation also includes Wang Ning, chief of staff of the Beijing Military Area Command, Zheng Quanliang, deputy commander of the Jinan Military Area Command, Jia Xiaowei, chief of staff of the Guangzhou Military Area Command, and Chen Shoumin, deputy chief of staff of the Strategic Planning Department.
The delegation, which arrived in the US on August 20 for a week-long visit, has already held separate talks with senior US military and government officials, including Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, Vice-Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff James Winnefeld, US Army’s Vice Chief of Staff Lloyd Austin, and Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman.
The Chinese officers have also visited the US military bases of Fort Hood in Texas and Leonard Wood in Missouri, and held discussions with US experts at the Washington-based think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies.
The delegation left Washington on Saturday for Hawaii, the final leg of the current trip, for a visit to the US Pacific Command.