China-UK military communication shows willingness to manage risks, ease regional tension: expert
Published: Sep 11, 2021 04:38 AM
China UK Photo:VCG

China UK Photo:VCG

 Li Zuocheng, a member of the Chinese Central Military Commission (CMC) and chief of staff of the CMC Joint Staff Department, had a phone conversation on Friday with British defense chief Nick Carter at the latter’s invitation.

Li said relations between the Chinese and British armed forces have generally developed steadily in recent years, and the two sides have conducted sound exchanges and cooperation in areas such as defense strategy consultations and international peacekeeping, according to a press release from China’s Ministry of Defense. 

In the future, the two militaries should strengthen strategic communication, maintain exchanges, expand practical cooperation, and promote the healthy and stable development of the relationship.

Carter appreciated Chinese aid globally in terms of COVID-19 control and recognized Chinese contributions to maintaining regional and world peace and stability. The UK is willing to work jointly with China to address global challenges, he said. 

A military expert who wished to remain anonymous told the Global Times that the short conversation was important. It was initiated by Carter, showing that the British military needs to clarify some topics concerning China, while China is willing to express its concerns and stance. 

The atmosphere of the talks was probably harmonious, as the press release indicated cooperation rather than confrontation. But that doesn’t mean the two sides did not cover sensitive topics, the expert said. 

China must have stated its stance on the UK’s carrier strike group led by the aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth in Indo-Pacific waters, the expert said.

HMS Queen Elizabeth was followed by Chinese warships like a shadow during its journey to Japan, commander of the carrier Steve Moorehouse told the Japanese media. This was to safeguard Chinese sovereignty, the expert said, adding that the Friday talk was an occasion for China to express its concerns at an administrative level.     

The two sides have reached a consensus on avoiding conflict, managing risks and enhancing communications, the expert said, noting that it sends a positive signal and can help ease the regional situation and offset military tensions. 

The expert also believed that the talk showed the Chinese military’s maturity and status in great power relations, and said China is willing to enhance communications, manage differences and avoid misunderstandings

“It also demonstrated China’s development in economic military and overall strength, as the UK has to consider China’s feelings and reactions when they deploy military forces in the region,” the expert said.