China, U.S. Making Progress on Military
By Jim Garamone
BEIJING — The
United States and China are making progress on security issues,
Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers said today following meetings with
senior Chinese leaders.
Force Gen. Richard B. Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs
of Staff, meets Chinese officers during a welcome ceremony
in his honor Jan. 14 at the Bayi Building in Beijing.
by Jim Garamone
Chiefs of Staff chairman said there is a "positive momentum"
in the security relationship.
U.S. seeks a constructive and stable military relationship with
China," Myers said during a press roundtable at the American
embassy here. "We will both benefit from expanding our military
education exchanges, especially between our academies and war
The push forward
comes after some rocky times. In April 2001, a Chinese F-8 fighter
collided with a U.S. Navy EP-3 patrolling in international airspace.
The United States already had stopped military-to-military contacts
with the Chinese so the then-new Bush administration could study
the exchanges. The EP-3 managed to land on China’s Hainan Island.
The Chinese pilot died in the crash.
military-to-military contacts have resumed, with the U.S. Pacific
Command taking the lead. There was an exchange of ship visits
last year and more are anticipated. Myers’ visit to the Chinese
capital is viewed as another step to keep the momentum going in
the U.S.-China military-to-military relationship.
stop-and-go nature of the relationship, Myers said, the momentum
now is good on the strategic level. On Feb. 11-12, China will
host a delegation led by Douglas Feith, defense undersecretary
for policy, for defense consultative talks. A portion of those
talks will focus on furthering military- to-military contacts.
Gen. Liang Guanglie, the Chinese chief of general staff, has accepted
an invitation to visit Washington later this year. "The value
of our increasing military-to-military relationship is to provide
transparency both ways on our two militaries, and to avoid misunderstandings
that might occur," Myers said.
said the better the American and Chinese militaries know each
other, the less chance there will be for either side to "miscalculate
or misunderstand" each other if there are incidents in the
While he said
he appreciates the interaction at the senior level, Myers wants
the military-to-military relationships to include younger service
members, too. "Interaction can increase the knowledge of
one another at the lower level, so that people grow up with a
better understanding of either China or the United States,"
he said. "It’s always an advantage to be able to pick up
a telephone and talk to somebody that you know fairly well. The
relationship that I have with General Liang, the relationship
that Defense Secretary (Donald H.) Rumsfeld has with his counterpart
Gen. Cao (Gangchuan) is going to be helpful in that regard."
press had many questions on Taiwan. Myers reiterated the long-
standing American position. He said the United States subscribes
to the One- China policy, and that reunification of Taiwan and
China must be done peacefully. He said the United States opposes
any unilateral action to change the status quo. "The U.S.
strongly believes the situation can be resolved with diplomacy,"
U.S. arms sales to Taiwan. He said China continues to build up
its capability opposite Taiwan. "Our responsibility under
the Taiwan Relations Act is to assist Taiwan and its ability to
defend itself," he said. The United States does this to ensure
there will be "no temptation to use force" to reunify
the country, the chairman added.
was pleased with the meetings he held with Chinese leaders. In
addition to Liang and Cao, he met with Jiang Zemin, chairman of
the Central Military Commission and former president of China.
He said the progress in security matters underscores the fact
that the economic relationship between the United States and China
has continued to grow.
sustained progress and prosperity you need a stable and secure
environment," Myers said. "I think it’s natural from
that that these two great countries would continue to look for
progress in the security relationship."
that the United States is a Pacific nation. "We both have
huge interests in the region, and it’s in both our interests that
the region remain stable so economic progress can take place."
he and the Chinese leaders also discussed North Korea and the
global war on terrorism. He said the consensus is that both China
and the United States want a nuclear-free Korean peninsula. Both
China and the United States are worried about North Korean claims
of having nuclear weapons and of possessing plutonium processed
from spent fuel rods. Myers said he told Chinese leaders the United
States appreciates their leadership role in the Six-Party talks
among the United States, China, Russia, Japan, South Korea and
He said there
is also consensus that international terrorism "is a scourge
that all countries need to fight." He said the Chinese are
disturbed, as is the United States, by the possibility of weapons
of mass destruction falling into the hands of terrorists.
on his Jan. 14 tour of the Beijing Aerospace Control Center. He
was the first foreign leader allowed into the facility. The center
controlled the Shen Zhou 5 flight that launched the first Chinese
"taikonaut" into orbit.
important to show appreciation for the significant accomplishment
the Chinese space program made," Myers said. "Our delegation
certainly appreciated the fact that our host would allow us to
go out to the center to get some briefing and a presentation of
the Shen Zhou 5 space flight. Obviously, this was a big step in
the Chinese space program, and we congratulate them."
visited the Great Wall of China and left for Australia, where
he will end his tour of the Pacific.