Trust-building needed to cut Gordian Knot of China-US military ties

Source:Xinhua Published: 2013-12-18 16:01:15

The Cannikin Law, by which the capacity of a barrel is determined by the shortest stave, also governs China-US relations.

The near-collision between Chinese and US warships in the South China Sea lately shows that trust deficit and absence of military coordination have become a weak link in promoting ties between Beijing and Washington.

On Dec. 5, US missile cruiser Cowpens, despite warnings from China's aircraft carrier task group, broke into the Chinese navy's drilling waters in the South China Sea, and almost collided with a Chinese warship nearby.

In fact, even before the navy training, Chinese maritime authorities have posted a navigation notice on its website, and the US warship, which should have had the knowledge of what the Chinese were doing there, intentionally carried on with its surveillance of China's Liaoning aircraft carrier and triggered the confrontation.

For years, whether it was in the pile of guesswork congressional reports or in the fanfare talks of some China-bashing US politicians, Beijing's military development has been portrayed as a threat to regional stability.

Comparing to the two countries' manifold economic and trade cooperation mechanisms, their military dialogue platforms, now still mainly confined to exchange visits by military leaders and joint exercises, tend to be rather limited both in scope and in ability to deliver tangible results.

The current fragile military links are the most vulnerable part of the two countries' overall relationship, which will definitely hinder their efforts to materialize the building-up of a new model of major country relations in the long-run.

To cut that Gordian Knot, the two countries should set up effective channels at all levels for timely communications on important military moves, so as to avoid miscalculations and even a skirmish.

Washington has to understand that Beijing has the right to grow its national defense capacity in accordance with its own legitimate demands to protect national interests.

China has also assured the world repeatedly that it will use its power in a peaceful and responsible way. Therefore, demagogues should stop making a fuss over China's military development that is purely defensive in nature.

In an interdependent world as what it is, neither China nor the United States can exist without relating to the other. Being well aware of the deficiencies of their bilateral ties, it is time for Beijing and Washington to work together to patch up the short staves of the cask and be trustworthy friends to each other.

Posted in: Diplomacy

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