Joint military exercise creates room for ties

Source:Global Times Published: 2014-6-26 23:53:01

The Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) military maritime exercise kicked off on Thursday with 23 countries involved. China, participating for the first time, has sent four warships. The US-led RIMPAC is a remnant of the Cold War. It was originally directed against the Soviet Union, but nowadays the target is deliberately made vague.

One highlight of RIMPAC this time is that the lineup of the People's Liberation Army is second only to the US military. Sino-US relations are too complicated to summarize. The relations between the two militaries are considered by some to represent the actual bottom line in terms of relations between the two countries. Many remain pessimistic about whether the two can build mutual strategic trust. But as long as no war is initiated, the Asia-Pacific region and even the entire world will feel relaxed.

Since Chinese President Xi Jinping visited the US, contact between the leaders of the two militaries has been more intense than it has been in the past two decades. Such warm ties have helped build a new type of great power relations. Many believe the Chinese and US militaries view each other as their imaginary enemy. But the interests of the two countries are intertwined. Maintaining the positive aspects of bilateral relations suits the individual interests of the two sides more than destroying them.

Radical figures from both countries think the joint military exercise is nothing but a "vanity project" which does not help improve bilateral ties. Such views are not necessarily true. The relationship between big powers is always subtle and sensitive. Even superficial friendly moves are important because they can create favorable conditions.

There will be more points of friction between China and the US. Both will stick to defending their core interests and will not easily step back. The militaries of both sides should avoid acting tough toward each other and instead carry out more joint exercises.

There are some key discrepancies between the two that need to be clarified. For example, the US always claims that the long-term goal of China is to force the US out of Asia. It also believes China's sovereignty protection acts in the East China Sea and the South China Sea are proof of its ambitions. We believe that US views are dominated by a hegemonic mentality.

Meanwhile, China is worried about US containment of China amid its rise, which the US has always denied. It claimed that this just reflects the diversity of American society.

The scale of cooperation between the two, as well as the vigilance they maintain toward each other, are both unprecedented. The two are meeting mounting challenges and will face up to them. For a long time in the future, China will still be weaker than the US. We should insist on our own interests and become strategically tolerant about frictions between the two. As bilateral relations move forward, both will have more comprehension and moderation.

Posted in: Editorial

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