Senior military officials from China, US have held talks: Ministry of National Defense
Published: Sep 01, 2023 02:46 AM
Senior Colonel Wu Qian, a spokesperson from China’s Ministry of National Defense Photo: Screenshot of video from website of China’s Ministry of National Defense

Senior Colonel Wu Qian, a spokesperson from China’s Ministry of National Defense Photo: Screenshot of video from website of China’s Ministry of National Defense

Senior military officials from China and the US have held talks, China's Ministry of National Defense (MOD) said on Thursday, making it reportedly the first offline exchange between senior officials of the two militaries this year. Experts said whether the high-level contacts can be normalized depends on whether the US military can correct its wrongdoings and meet China halfway.

Vice chief of the Joint Staff Department of the Central Military Commission Xu Qiling held a meeting with representatives of the US military in Fiji, confirmed Senior Colonel Wu Qian, a spokesperson from the MOD, during its first offline press release after the pandemic on Thursday.

The military exchanges between China and the US are not suspended. Both sides have maintained open and effective communication through military and diplomatic channels, Wu added.

During August 12 to 18, Xu led a delegation to Fiji to attend the Indo-Pacific Chiefs of Defense conference and visit Fiji, said Wu.

According to previous reports by Reuters, the US commander of the Indo Pacific Command, Admiral John Aquilino, and Fiji's military commander, Major General Jone Logavatu Kalouniwai, "are hosting the meeting, with 27 nations from the region taking part."

Inferred from the disclosure of information by several parties, Admiral John Aquilino held talks with Xu.

Recently, the US military officials have been continuously exaggerating the possibility of a war between China and the US by emphasizing the interruption of military exchanges between the two countries.

Wu refuted that it is fundamentally impossible for the US military to create crises through actions while attempting to control them through language. "The Chinese side urges the US to stop its military provocations against China, in order to avoid the extreme situation that nobody wants to see," he said.

A military expert, who requested anonymity, told the Global Times all the facts indicate that it is the US military that is creating risks between the Chinese and American militaries.

The US State Department announced on Wednesday it will provide the Taiwan region with approximately $80 million worth of military assistance for the first time under the "Foreign Military Financing program."

"Regardless of whether the US is to aid or sell arms to the Taiwan region, we have always been firmly opposed to such a move," said Wu in response. The People's Liberation Army will take all necessary measures to resolutely counteract it as always, he added.

The actions of the US side have hindered normal communication between the two militaries for a period of time, Zhuo Hua, an international affairs expert at the School of International Relations and Diplomacy of Beijing Foreign Studies University, told the Global Times.

If the two militaries want to have further positive interactions, the key lies in whether the US can truly change its erroneous perception and policies towards China in the coming period of time, and whether it can take concrete goodwill actions, said Zhuo. "This is the fundamental condition for the two militaries' relationship to get back on track."