Close China-US military ties key to regional and world peace

By Li Daguang Source:Global Times Published: 2019/11/19 21:48:40

Chinese State Councilor and Defense Minister Wei Fenghe (left) greets US Defense Secretary Mark Esper in Bangkok, Thailand on Monday. The two held their first face-to-face talks Monday. Photo: AP

The Taiwan question, foreign forces meddling in Hong Kong affairs and the South China Sea row - hot-button issues towering above China-US relations - came up at the meeting between Chinese State Councilor and Defense Minister Wei Fenghe and US Secretary of  Defense Mark Esper in Bangkok on Monday. 

Wei underscored China's dedication to resolving the Taiwan question peacefully and demanded the US to handle the issue with caution.

The Taiwan question has been used by the US to contain China. As long as there are tensions between the two countries, the US will keep provoking China on the Taiwan question.

The riots in Hong Kong have been going on for months. Given what we currently know, this is certainly not a local issue, and there must have been foreign forces behind it. Hong Kong has been practicing the "one country, two systems" policy, which is now facing a challenging time. China should prevent the US from using Hong Kong to interfere in the Taiwan question, affecting China's security and stability, and peaceful reunification. Therefore, China does not allow outside powers to meddle in China's domestic affairs.

Wei also urged the US to stop flexing muscles in the South China Sea, which has also been exploited by Washington as a leverage to contain China. The Hong Kong issue may extend or spill over into the South China Sea row. Wei's words can be regarded as a warning to Washington not to take advantage of the Hong Kong issue to step up tensions in the South China Sea. 

US military presence in the South China Sea and Taiwan Straits is an important part of the US Indo-Pacific Strategy. China should prevent the US from roiling the South China Sea issue and Taiwan question at a time when Hong Kong's situation continues to deteriorate.

US military presence poses a threat to regional peace and security, affecting stability in East Asia, Southeast Asia, and even the entire Asia-Pacific region. China is a great power in the Asia-Pacific region, and the South China Sea issue and Taiwan question concern China's national interests and security. Beijing will not tolerate Washington's disruptive practices in the region. If the US continues its moves, China will respond with countermeasures.

Chinese defense ministry spokesperson Wu Qian said on Monday that China and the US agreed that "the China-US military relationship is an important part of bilateral relations, and developing a healthy and stable bilateral military relationship would benefit not only China and the United States, but also regional and world peace and stability."

China-US military ties would affect their diplomacies to some extent. The two countries have divergences and frictions in the domains of trade and geopolitics, but there are not many disputes in military between the two countries. The two militaries have some consensus in jointly maintaining the peace and security of East Asia, Asia-Pacific region and the whole world, creating space for their cooperation, such as jointly participating in peacekeeping and maritime escort operations. 

Military relations play a role of stabilizer, as close China-US military relations are crucial to maintaining benign bilateral ties. As two great military powers interact, a peaceful and harmonious bilateral defense relationship will make both winners, while a confrontational one will make both losers. Their cooperation is conductive to peace and stability in East Asia, the Asia-Pacific, as well as the world.

The author is a professor at National Defence University of the People's Liberation Army. 


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