Defense

July 11, 2012

China visit represents positive step

Tags:
by Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service
DOD photograph by Army SSgt. Carl N. Hudson

Navy Adm. Samuel J. Locklear III, commander of U.S. Pacific Command, speaks at China’s Academy of Military Sciences in Beijing, June 27, 2012.

Recognizing that the United States and China have more areas of convergence than differences, the top U.S. officer in the Pacific said he’s more convinced after his recent visit there that the two countries can build on common ground as they strive to get their military-to-military relationship back on track.

Navy Adm. Samuel J. Locklear III spent four days in China in late June, meeting with Chinese Defense Minister Gen. Lian Guanglie of the Central Military Commission, Gen. Ma Ziaotian, deputy chief of the general staff, and other senior military leaders.

The visit was the first for a U.S. Pacific Command chief in four years, representing what Locklear said he hopes will be a new start in what he conceded has been an “on-again, off-again” relationship between the two militaries.

China abruptly severed ties in early 2010 over U.S. arms sales to Taiwan, and the military-to-military relationship has slowly resumed since 2011.

As he took the helm at Pacom in April, Locklear said he would make restoring the relationship a top priority.

“Both nations realize that it’s not in the best interests of anyone in the world for the U.S. and China not to have a favorable relationship with each other, and that good military-to-military relations [are] critical to that,” he said.

Speaking to American Forces Press Service during a flight to Australia, Locklear called the visit to China an initial step in the right direction. “You can’t have a relationship with somebody you don’t talk to,” he said. “So you have to start with that. And then you have to have a frank dialogue. And I think the Chinese, like Americans, appreciate frank dialogue. So when you tell them how you see it, and they tell you how they see it, then at least you know where you are starting from.”

Locklear said he explained the renewed U.S. focus on Asia and the Pacific, a cornerstone of the new U.S. strategic guidance, and emphasized that it in no way intends to “contain” China.

“I outlined the Asia-Pacific rebalance so they could understand what we are doing and why we are doing it,” he said of his address to students and cadre at the China Academy of Military Science. “And I pointed out to them that this is about trying to provide a security environment with our allies and … our strategic partners and our emerging partners that is good for everyone.”

Locklear said he told the Chinese that they should have not only a role in that security environment, but “a productive role in it.”

China faces decisions about how it will enter into that security environment, he said. Meanwhile, the United States, along with its allies and partners, will have to determine how they engage with China in that environment.

“So there is a responsibility on both sides,” the admiral said. “And we have a couple of options – not just us, but our allies and partners. We can encourage China to make good decisions. Or we can make it difficult for them to make good decisions, and then we have to live with the outcome.”

While underscoring the importance of positive relations between the two countries, Locklear said he made clear during his visit that the lack of transparency about China’s military buildup and the motivation behind it troubles the United States and many other regional nations.

“What we are all concerned about is miscalculation,” the admiral said, calling military-to-military engagements a way to help in clarifying intentions and preventing conflict.

“Neither government, nor do I think any of our allies or our partners, want to have a conflict between China and the United States,” he said. “It just doesn’t make any sense.”

Working through areas of disagreement will take time, he acknowledged, expressing hope that it can be done in a way that “prevents miscalculation and prevents unnecessary confrontation that is not good for anybody.”

Locklear said he and his Chinese hosts addressed several areas of contention, including China’s claims over the South China Sea. “That whole area is a small backyard, and it is owned by a lot of people, and they don’t all agree where the fence lines are,” he said. The United States has not taken sides in the territorial dispute there, but firmly believes that “whatever happens in that part of the world has to be resolved peacefully and without coercion,” he added.

What the United States takes issue with, he said, are China’s maritime claims that would hinder freedom of trade and movement through international waters.

“This is a place where we diverge, and [that] has caused difficulties,” Locklear said. “So we have to keep working with [China] on that and we have to keep working to ensure that as we disagree on that, it doesn’t lead to miscalculation that drives us in a direction we don’t want to go.”

His talks in China also extended to another area of contention: arms sales to Taiwan. The United States supports the “one-China policy,” he said, but also is committed to ensuring that Taiwan has a “minimum credible deterrence.”

Locklear expressed hope that the United States and China can look beyond these issues and focus on common interests as they forge a more positive path in their relationship.

“It is in all our best interests to figure out how to do this together,” he said. “As China emerges as a regional power and maybe eventually a global economic power, the question is how do we … help them do so in a positive way that promotes regional security and prosperity?”




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Headlines August 1, 2015

News: Marine F-35 jets deemed ready for combat – A small batch of the highly anticipated – and much criticized – F-35B Joint Strike Fighter jets have been approved for combat by the U.S. Marine Corps.   News: Reports: China to sell J-10 fighter to Iran, Syria? – Iran is rumored external link to be buying 150...
 
 

News Briefs August 3, 2015

Russian military helicopter crashes during air show, one dead A Russian military helicopter crashed Aug. 2 during an aerobatic display, killing one of its crewmembers and injuring another, the Defense Ministry said. The Mi-28 helicopter gunship was part of a flight of helicopters performing aerobatics at the Dubrovichi firing range in Ryazan region, about 170...
 
 
Army photograph by John Andrew Hamilton

Improved Multiple Launch Rocket System tested at White Sands Missile Range

Army photograph by John Andrew Hamilton A Multiple Launch Rocket System with an improved armored cab fires a training rocket during a test. The rockets were simple training rockets and not equipped with a warhead, but still gen...
 

 

Missile Defense Agency, Raytheon demonstrate SM-6’s new anti-ballistic missile defense capability

In a first-of-its-kind test, the U.S. Navy fired a Raytheon Standard Missile-6, intercepting and destroying a short-range ballistic missile target at sea. The successful U.S. Missile Defense Agency test proved a modified SM-6 can eliminate threat ballistic missiles in their final seconds of flight. “SM-6 is the only missile in the world that can do...
 
 

Northrop Grumman-developed stealthy data link validated as combat ready with U.S. Marine Corps

the U.S. Marine Corps achieving F-35B initial operating capability, the Multifunction Advanced Data Link waveform developed by Northrop Grumman has been proven a key combat-ready capability of the F-35 Lightning II program. MADL is a high-data-rate, directional communications link that allows fifth-generation aircraft to communicate and coordinate tactics covertly. During testing of the Lockhee...
 
 

Lockheed Martin technology helps pilots, UAS operators share data, stay safe

As Unmanned Aircraft Systems take to the skies, it is essential for safety that UAS operators and pilots are aware of each other. To help provide this shared situational awareness, Lockheed Martin has deployed the first components of a UAS traffic management system that is available to the UAS community now. Lockheed Martin’s online Flight...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>