US to send admiral to China for talks

By Chen Heying and Guo Yuandan Source:Global Times Published: 2015-10-29 0:58:01

Dialogue to show will over sovereignty

The commander of the US Pacific Command is expected to visit China for talks with the Chinese military in early November after a US warship came close to Chinese reefs on Tuesday and drew harsh warnings from Beijing.

Admiral Harry Harris will be sent by the US military to China on Monday, where he will hold talks with top Chinese military officials to discuss bilateral military exchanges, a US military officer was quoted by Japanese public broadcaster NHK as saying on Wednesday.

Diverse sources confirmed with the Global Times that senior US Navy officials, including Harris, are scheduled to visit China in the near future.

The talks were planned before the US destroyer USS Lassen sailed within 12 nautical miles of Zhubi Reef and Meiji Reef in the South China Sea on Tuesday, according to NHK. The Chinese government called the patrol "provocative" and "extremely dangerous."

Experts are expecting the military exchanges in November will deter misjudgment over the South China Sea after negotiation and compromise.

Since the incursion and Harris's visit were carefully timed by the US, his visit will restate the US stance, rejecting China's territorial claim over the reclaimed islands in the South China Sea, Zha Xiaogang, a research fellow at the Shanghai Institute for International Studies, told the Global Times Wednesday.

Zhang Junshe, a captain and research fellow at the Chinese Naval Research Institute, told the Global Times that the exchanges of senior military officers will especially help the US understand China's actions on safeguarding its legal rights in the South China Sea.

In the meantime, both sides will demonstrate their commitment to developing win-win cooperation, establishing a new type of major power relations and resolving conflicts, Li Jie, a Beijing-based navy military expert, told the Global Times.

"The Chinese side maintains that disagreements between China and other countries, including the US, should be resolved through dialogue," Lu Kang, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told a daily press briefing on Wednesday.

Leaders of China and the US reached an important consensus last month in Washington, Lu said, stressing that the US needs to work together with China to settle problems. He continued to call the US warship's Tuesday incursion a "serious political provocation" against China.

With historical documents, archaeological findings and 50 photos from four years of field study, Chen Jinguo of the Institute of World Religions of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences believes that Chinese people built a lot of religious sites on the islands, an important basis for China's claim of sovereignty, the Xinhua News Agency reported on Wednesday.

Japan takes side

After rounds of diplomatic representations between China and the US on Tuesday, several allies of the US, including Japan, South Korea and Australia, have also clarified their respective stands.

"In order to protect the free, open and peaceful sea, we will cooperate with the international community, including the United States, our ally," Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was quoted by The Japan Times as saying on Tuesday.

Japan supports any measure that contains China since Japan will feel less pressured regarding the East China Sea disputes with China when it is distracted by South China Sea issues, Jin Canrong, vice director of the School of International Studies at Renmin University of China, told the Global Times.

The Japanese government has failed to keep its promise of maintaining peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region, Lü Yaodong, director of the Department of Japanese Diplomacy in the Institute of Japanese Studies of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

Philippine President Benigno Aquino III said he was open to providing logistical support for US operations in the South China Sea, CNN reported on Tuesday.

The Philippines has territorial disputes with China over some islands in the waters.

In contrast, responses from two US allies - Australia and South Korea - were considered by experts to be perfunctory, indicating that China is in a diplomatically favorable position.

"South Korea has been strongly calling for restraint of any action that affects peace and stability in the region," a senior presidential official was quoted by Yonhap News Agency as saying on Wednesday, adding that disputes should be resolved in accordance with international norms.

Australian Defense Minister Marise Payne said all countries have a right to freedom of navigation and freedom of overflight based on international law, including in the South China Sea, the Special Broadcasting Service reported on Wednesday. However, Australia will not join the naval exercise, Payne said.

Zha said remarks from the two countries are largely symbolic gestures as traditional allies of the US, explaining that due to their close economic ties with China they will not form a coalition with the US over South China Sea issues.

Posted in: Diplomacy, Military

blog comments powered by Disqus