US cooks up mistrust on China by accusing China of 'missing maritime security meeting'

By Guo Yuandan and Yang Sheng Source: Global Times Published: 2020/12/17 19:43:39

A ship-borne helicopter attached to a flotilla of the navy under the PLA Southern Theater Command prepares to land on the flight deck of the frigate Enshi (Hull 627) during a 9-day maritime training exercise in late November, 2020. Photo:China Military

The US should rethink the reason why China didn't appear at a meeting based on the China-US Military Maritime Consultative Agreement (MMCA) rather than rudely accuse China of not honoring agreements, said Chinese military and diplomatic experts, after the US commander of the Indo-Pacific Command criticized China for missing the meeting on Wednesday. 

Admiral Phil Davidson said in a statement on Wednesday that this was "another example that China does not honor its agreements," and "This should serve as a reminder to all nations as they pursue agreements with China going forward," according to Reuters.

Senior Colonel Liu Wensheng, spokesperson of the Chinese navy, said in a statement in response to the US statement that "the accusation from the US has totally confused right and wrong. The reason why the meeting can't be held in time is that the US has failed to implement the agreement reached by both sides. The US should take full responsibility."

On November 18, China sent suggestions on the meeting agenda to the US, but the US has insisted on its unilateral agenda to arbitrarily shorten the meeting time, and tried to change the nature of the meeting, and even intended to force China to attend without agreement on agenda setting, Liu said.

"These unprofessional, unfriendly and unconstructive approaches have showed the bullying style of the US. This is against the international norm, as well as the principle of mutual respect and consensus in the MMCA signed in 1998 by the two sides. This has damaged the mutual trust between the Chinese Navy and the US Indo-Pacific Command," Liu noted in the statement.

Mutual respect and consensus are the principles for Chinese and US militaries to handle all kinds of problems. China is willing to maintain communication with the US on the matter, and hopefully, the US can concretely respect all contents of the MMCA, rather than selectively execute the agreement based on unilateral preferences or accusing others while covering its own responsibility, Liu said.

"We hope the US can reach an agreement with China as soon as possible on relevant matters, to push the opening of the meeting smoothly," Liu further said.

The two militaries were expected to participate in December 14-16 meetings related to the MMCA focused on maritime safety, and the two sides have had MMCA dialogues since 1998, the US commander said. 

Observers said the statement released by the US military is questionable. Wu Qian, a Chinese defense ministry spokesperson, confirmed at a press conference in October that the two sides would have the MMCA video meeting by the end of this year. 

Ren Guoqiang, another spokesperson for the Chinese defense ministry, also said at a press conference in November that China has always attached great importance to the development of China-US military ties and to maintaining stable and sound relations between the two militaries in accordance with the fundamental interests of the two countries. 

Therefore, the MMCA meeting in December is a symbol for observing China-US military ties, and China has no reason for refusing to attend the meeting, said observers.  

Normally, a meeting between two countries or two military forces should be well planned and the two sides should reach agreements on when and how to have the meeting, what topics are to be discussed and the seniority level of the officials who will attend. If the two sides do not reach agreement on these matters and the US side jumped up to criticize China, then the US intention is problematic and should be questioned, said Chinese experts. 

A military expert who asked for anonymity told the Global Times on Thursday that the Trump administration is launching all-out offensives against China in the field of public opinion, so it will make use of all opportunities to accuse, smear and isolate China and add more difficulties for the next administration to repair ties and legitimize its hostile policy toward China.

Li Haidong, a professor at the Institute of International Relations of China Foreign Affairs University, told the Global Times on Thursday that the US is trying to hype the issue and send a signal to its allies in the region - don't trust China.

"The US is intentionally stigmatizing China's sincerity for communication so that it can cook up mistrust between China and regional countries. But in fact, China and the regional countries' military forces have a communication mechanism and the mutual trust has already been established, and it won't be affected by the US' stigmatization," Li said.

The US military unilaterally sending out a statement to stigmatize China without communicating with the Chinese military is extremely rude and inappropriate, and the US should rethink its dishonorable behavior, Li noted.

Newspaper headline: US cooks up mistrust by accusing China of missing maritime meeting

Posted in: MILITARY

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