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Thread: Sino US Military Exchanges

  1. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    skywatcher,

    to clarify- the chinese will not necessarily have air superiority in an invasion scenario, in fact, they're betting against it. and the apaches are indeed to be used against amphibious assaults, where they're actually quite useful given the enemies they'll be facing.
    Interesting. I always assumed the opposite. Will have to think that through.

  2. #17
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    came away from a china meeting at the puzzle palace the other day with a great quote:

    "ah, cooperating with the chinese, it's like pissing in a pair of black pants. no one knows you're doing it, it stinks, but hey, they make you warm inside"

    )
    There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."- Isaac Asimov

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    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    by the way,

    the chinese were really unhappy with this one- they canceled more than just "a few". it's making life hell for me right now. man, i love the PRC.

    sorry to heard that, but my impression is that the Sino-US relations has been going so well in the past years, I think certain groups within the Chinese leadership (especially the foreign ministry) miscalculated and the arms package really made a fool out of them.


    great quote by the way, loved it.

  4. #19
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    I don't understand these types of military exchanges. What do we gain from letting China come to the Pentagon, and look at our systems and such?

  5. #20
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    BW,

    What do we gain from letting China come to the Pentagon, and look at our systems and such?
    US wants increase mil-to-mil cooperation, reciprocity, and openness. they see our stuff, we see their stuff (although right now it's very biased towards the former).

    they've only gone to the pentagon a few times, and they're only allowed access to designated safe areas and watched like hawks by EVERYONE. still a pain though, they like to pretend they don't understand instructions such as leaving cameras at the front-- even though the pictures they take are completely useless.
    There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."- Isaac Asimov

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    andy,

    sorry to heard that, but my impression is that the Sino-US relations has been going so well in the past years, I think certain groups within the Chinese leadership (especially the foreign ministry) miscalculated and the arms package really made a fool out of them.
    now that the package is out there i can talk a bit more freely on this, the chinese should not have been looking so much as what was sold but what was NOT sold.

    i've seen a very schizoprenic response by the chinese on this one, some depts get the message loud and clear and assure us that in return the chinese won't complain so much. initial analysis of language used seemed to bear that out. however, the freeze in exchanges is still ongoing, showing that some other groups are having the same debate about the seriousness of the event and probably winning.
    There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."- Isaac Asimov

  7. #22
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    Yeah, Bill the Great from just wrote something in washingtontime today.

  8. #23
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    thanks-- missed that. time to pass it around the office, maybe i can take a vacation for now?
    There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."- Isaac Asimov

  9. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by xrough View Post
    China cancels, postpones military exchanges with US: Pentagon


    WASHINGTON - China has canceled or postponed several military exchanges with the United States in protest against a proposed 6.5 billion dollar arms sale to Taiwan, a Pentagon spokesman said Monday.

    "The Chinese reaction is unfortunate and results in missed opportunities," said Major Stuart Upton.

    Upton said senior level visits and exchanges involving humanitarian assistance and disaster relief issues that had been scheduled to take place before the end of November were canceled or postponed.

    The Pentagon notified Congress Friday of 6.5 billion dollars in proposed arms sales to Taiwan, including advanced Patriot missile defenses, Apache attack helicopters and submarine-launched anti-ship missiles.

    Chinese officials in Washington and Beijing "responded with displeasure to the US announcement," Upton said.

    "PRC officials have informed us that US-Chinese bilateral events may be affected," he said.

    Upton said there has been no change in US policy on arms sales to Taiwan and that the United States had faithfully abided by the US Taiwan Relations Act which provides for sales of defensive weapons to Taipei.

    "We feel that the global security environment calls for US and PRC officials to maintain close relations to address common security challenges," he said.

    "Uncertainty over the motivations and direction of China's military expansion leads others to hedge," he said. "This could lead to a security environment less favorable to China's interests, the region's, and our own."

    In protesting the proposed sales on Saturday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao warned it would damage Sino-US relations, and called on Washington to call them off.

    Liu said the sales would grossly interfere in China's internal affairs, endanger national security and disturb the peaceful development of cross-strait relations, he added.

    "It is only natural that this move would stir up strong indignation of the Chinese government and people," he said, according to Xinhua.

    "We sternly warn the United States that there is only one China in the world, and that Taiwan is a part of China," Liu said.
    Good!!!!....)

  10. #25
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    Hmmmm, something is going on.




    Taiwan defence ministry under fire for changing titles (Roundup)
    Asia-Pacific News

    Dec 7, 2008, 14:14 GMT

    Taipei - Taiwan's Defence Ministry came under fire Sunday from parliamentarians for quietly stripping its military attaches to the United States of that title.

    The move is considered controversial because, although the United States gives official diplomatic recognition to China and not Taiwan, the fact that Taiwanese officers retained the title was considered one of prestige for Taiwan's standing.

    'Didn't those responsible for decision-making at the Defence Ministry know nothing about the consequence of the move? It is a belittling of our sovereignty,' said Lin Yu-fang, parliamentarian of the ruling Nationalist Party or Kuomintang (KMT).

    He said it took Taiwan great efforts to convince the US to allow the island to keep the military attache posts after formal diplomatic relations between Taipei and Washington were cut in 1979.

    'China tried in vain for years for Washington to abolish our military attache posts in the US. I don't understand why the Defence Ministry would agree to the removal of those titles,' said Lin, a senior member of the defence committee.

    He said the removal was not a result of pressure from the United States or China, which had long since stopped demanding Washington to refuse to allow Taiwan to use the military attache title.

    Lin's comments came after news reports that Taiwan's Military Representative Organization in Washington changed the military attache titles of Taiwanese officers stationed in the US to secretary, and restricted them from meeting their US counterparts directly.

    KMT lawmakers said the move was tantamount to belittling Taiwan's sovereignty. 'Someone from the Defence Ministry must shoulder responsibility over such a decision,' said KMT lawmaker Shui Hua-min.

    The Defence Ministry said the change of title would not affect the functions of Taiwan's Military Representative Organization in Washington.

    'Taiwan and the US do not have formal ties, so 'military attache' was only an informal title. In the past, the representatives from the army, navy and air force was called 'committee chief.' Starting from July 1, they were called 'secretary.' This is only a change of title and would not affect their work,' Defence Ministry Spokeswoman Chih Yu-lan told the Central News Agency.

    Washington switched diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing in 1979, but still maintains close military and trade ties with Taiwan. The United States is Taiwan's chief arms supplier, despite protests from China, which claims that US support for Taiwan is the main obstacle unification between China and Taiwan.











    Military refutes ‘attache’ media report
    By Rich Chang
    STAFF REPORTER, WITH DPA
    Monday, Dec 08, 2008, Page 1

    The Ministry of National Defense (MND) yesterday refuted a media report that alleged the ministry had removed military attache titles from officers stationed in the US because of external pressure.

    “The news report was wrong because the title of ‘attache’ was canceled long ago when Taiwan and the US ended official diplomatic ties in 1979,” MND spokeswoman Major General Lisa Chi (池玉蘭) said yesterday in response to the Chinese-language United Daily News report yesterday that Taiwan’s Military Representative Organization in Washington had quietly eliminated the title of “military attache” in its organization.

    The Military Representative Organization has a major general chief, a major general vice chief, two colonels from the army and the air force, and a captain from the Navy, making up the attache posts.

    The removal of the titles was not the result of pressure from the US or China, but came on the suggestion of the MND itself, the report said, adding that although Taiwan has no formal diplomatic ties with the US, Taiwan’s military attaches are still allowed there.

    Chi said the title “military attache” is only used when two countries have diplomatic relations.

    “In Taiwan, the term ‘attache’ is an unofficial title. Its official name in the Military Representative Organization is ‘junior division chief,’” said Chi, adding that because Taiwan’s overseas embassies and representative offices only have the titles of division chief and secretary, the MND in July changed the title of junior division chiefs to “secretary” to incorporate the title with the representative office.

    The change does not result in any downgrading, she said.

    Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lin Yu-fang (林郁方), head of the legislature’s Foreign and National Defense Committee, was unconvinced.

    “Didn’t those responsible for decision making at the national defense ministry know anything about the consequence of the move? It belittles our sovereignty,” Lin said, calling the MND’s decision a “foolish” move that failed to consider the political and diplomatic consequences.

    He said it took Taiwan a lot of effort to convince the US to allow it to keep the attache posts after formal diplomatic relations were cut in 1979.

    “The Chinese Communists tried in vain for years to get Washington to abolish our military attache posts in the US, and I don’t understand why the defense ministry would agree to the removal of those titles,” Lin said.

  11. #26
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    http://www.airforcetimes.com/news/20...change_121108/



    Building a wary rapport with China

    By Erik Holmes - Staff writer
    Posted : Thursday Dec 11, 2008 11:25:48 EST

    The U.S. and China have a long relationship that often has been characterized by mutual suspicion. One step forward in relations is often followed by one step back.

    But behind the scenes, overshadowed by jockeying between the countries’ diplomats and statesmen, the U.S. and Chinese militaries have plodded forward, building relationships that Pacific Air Forces leaders hope will create the basis for future cooperation in the region.

    “The overall U.S.-China relationship has been improving, and [military-to-military relations] foster mutual understanding and prevent misunderstanding and miscalculation,” said Brian Woo, foreign policy adviser to PacAF commander Gen. Howie Chandler. “It moves us toward a multilateral environment that is more constructive.”

    In 2008, PacAF and U.S. Pacific Command conducted several exchanges of senior leaders and noncommissioned officers, and more are expected in 2009. The Chinese in October suspended military exchanges for the rest of the year because of outrage over U.S. arms sales to Taiwan, but Woo said he expects them to resume next year.

    Still, regional experts and PacAF officials disagree about the value of such military-to-military relations. Woo and Chandler maintain they are essential to U.S. strategy in the Pacific, but some analysts argue they yield little of value to the U.S.

    To mil-to-mil proponents such as Woo, gradually building relationships between the countries’ uniformed services will lead to greater cooperation in areas of common interest such as combating terrorism, providing maritime safety and responding to natural disasters and humanitarian crises. Eventually, those relationships could help defuse an international crisis.

    “This is a soft-power approach,” Woo said. “It is a form of diplomacy. ... The resources and the impact that the military has around the world … on the diplomatic front is profound.”

    But to others, the pomp and circumstance of military exchanges don’t disguise a relationship that remains dominated by mistrust. There also is a feeling that the level of sharing has not been equal between the two sides, said John Tkacik, a former American diplomat in China who is senior fellow in Asian studies at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank in Washington.

    “The Chinese do not really give Americans that much access to their facilities, certainly not as much as we have been giving to the Chinese,” he said. “And I think there was a feeling, especially in the Pacific, that we were probably showing the Chinese too much and we were getting nothing in return.”

    Even proponents agree that mil-to-mil relations have not always been on equal footing. Kenneth Allen, an analyst for the CNA (formerly the Center for Naval Analyses) noted in testimony last year before the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission and in a 2006 presentation at Fudan University in China that the Chinese typically take Americans to “show bases” from which the Americans can learn little, whereas the Americans give the Chinese access to important installations such as Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii.

    Also, China restricts access to even basic information about its military’s organizational structure, manpower and weapons systems, but the same information about the U.S. military is readily available online.

    But Allen argues that even though the U.S. provides more information to the Chinese, any information the U.S. gleans is of great value because the Chinese military is so secretive. He also argues that the relationship must be viewed as a long-term investment.

    “The issue of transparency in the U.S.-China military relationship should be viewed from a 25-year perspective, not on a one-year basis,” he said in testimony.
    Gauging the Chinese military

    U.S. forces in the Pacific hosted Chinese military officials three times in 2008. Chandler and PacAF vice commander Maj. Gen. Mike Hostage hosted Lt. Gen. Zhang Qinsheng, Guangzhou military region commander for the People’s Liberation Army, on July 9 and Lt. Gen. Jiang Jianzeng, Nanjing Military Region Air Force commander for the People’s Liberation Army Air Force, July 14-19.

    Woo characterized the meetings as “cordial and frank,” and said “the atmospherics were very good.”

    But U.S.-Chinese military exchanges don’t involve only officials with stars on their shoulders. U.S. Pacific Command hosted an NCO exchange in Hawaii on Oct. 1-2, and a delegation of American NCOs visited China in June to discuss enlisted issues.

    Chief Master Sgt. Todd Salzman, the 13th Air Force command chief, said the most noticeable difference he saw between the U.S. and Chinese militaries was the role of the NCO corps. Chinese NCOs are often excellent technicians, he said, but aren’t given the same degree of responsibility as in the U.S.

    No military exchanges are planned thus far for 2009, although a Chandler spokesman said he has been invited to China and looks forward to the trip.

    In an e-mail to Air Force Times, Chandler said the general remains bullish on the value of mil-to-mil exchanges with China, but he also sounded a note of realism and caution.

    “We need to ensure that we do not miscalculate and ... misunderstand each other,” he said. “I think we have an opportunity so long as we deal with the Chinese from a position of strength.”

  12. #27
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    xinhui,

    have you noted the timing of the article?

    also, CMSgt Salzman talks too much.
    There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."- Isaac Asimov

  13. #28
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    as a message for the new administration?

  14. #29
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    xinhui,

    we wouldn't need to play games like that with the new administration-- there's a pentagon transition group. but you're right- it's a message...
    There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."- Isaac Asimov

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    astralis,


    Gen Liang Guanglie, Defence Minister of China "wrote" this following OpEd on PLAdaily today, he even says nice things about Rumsfield, reading between the line, I think PRC is signaling that they are ready to put the Taiwan arms sales aside.




    Liang Guanglie: China's military diplomacy keeps pace with times (1)
    http://english.chinamil.com.cn/site2...nt_1596589.htm

    english.chinamil.com.cn 2008-12-23

      Carrying out multi-directional military diplomacy

      Presently, China has established military ties with more than 150 countries and set up military attaché offices in 109 countries and dispatches more than 150 military delegations to visit other countries every year. Meanwhile, 98 countries have set up military attaché offices in China and more than 200 military delegations of other countries visit China every year. China' military diplomacy has realized the historic transformation from mainly high-level friendly exchanges to multi-tiered and wide-ranging pragmatic cooperation, from mainly bilateral exchanges to parallel development of bilateral and multilateral exchanges, and from general specialized military exchanges to all-dimensional exchanges. I feel that we should attribute such an excellent situation to all-dimensional military diplomacy.

       Since the opening-up policy took effect 30 years ago, the PLA has faithfully implemented the national foreign policies and guidelines in its military diplomacy, and actively carry out exchanges with all other countries, big or small, strong or weak, and with all armed forces, advanced or backward, on the basis of equal consultation and mutually beneficial cooperation. In recent years, the China-US military relations have further developed, as evidenced by good momentum of reciprocal high level visits, exchanges between military colleges, and mechanism-based exchanges. The mutual-trust and cooperation have kept deepening, pragmatic exchanges are developing in a deep-going way and the coordination and cooperation in major international and regional security affairs have been strengthened between the Chinese and Russian armed forces. This year, the Chinese Ministry of National Defense has successively established telephone hotlines with its Russian and U.S. counterparts, which means that the new strategic communication channel has been established. Meanwhile, the defense exchange and dialogue with EU countries are also developing positively. The PLA has also strengthened the friendly cooperative ties with armed forces of the neighboring countries, established and improved border and coastal defense consultation and meeting mechanism, properly handled the disputes on territories, territorial sea and maritime rights and interests in pursuance of the diplomatic principle of "building good-neighborly relationships and partnerships" with neighboring countries to ensure the security and stability of the neighboring area.

      The relations between different countries or different armed forces are much the same with the relations between different peoples. There can be no trust without mutual understanding and no cooperation without mutual trust. The PLA has made great efforts to expand the mutual trust and exchange channels and established defense and security consultation mechanism with 22 countries including the U.S., Russia, UK, France, Japan, Australia and South Africa, of which, the defense and security consultation mechanism with such countries as Mongolia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Pakistan and India have been established after 2002, which has played an important role in increasing military mutual trust between China and its neighboring countries.

      The PLA's active participation in regional security cooperation and multilateral dialogue is a big highlight of China's military diplomacy in the new period. In recent years, the PLA participated in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the ASEAN Regional Forum, the Western Pacific Naval Forum (WPNF) and the Shangri-la Dialogue and has conducted effective exchange and cooperation in such fields as anti-terrorism, disaster relief, peacekeeping, maritime security and joint border patrol, etc.

       Since the1990s, the tide of the new revolution in military affairs has swept across the whole world and assumes a trend of acceleration. Many departments and many people have carried out specialized technological exchanges with foreign armed forces by centering on the major subjects of army building. Such military diplomacy has not only boosted the rapid development of weaponry and equipment of the PLA, but also help us further emancipate our mind, provided us with an international horizon and raise our strategic thinking capabilities.

      The military diplomacy has been carried out under the correct leadership of the Central Committee of the CPC and the Central Military Commission. Chairman Mao Zedong, Chairman Deng Xiaoping, Chairman Jiang Zemin and Chairman Hu Jintao all attach great importance to the military diplomacy. The leaders of the People's Republic of China personally examined and approved major diplomatic activities and found time from their busy schedules to meet important foreign military leaders and actively promoted military ties with foreign countries in summit diplomacy. Other previous leaders of the Central Military Commission also showed high concern for and personally involved in military diplomacy. Such high-level exchanges have great significance towards strengthening the foundation of bilateral military ties and advancing exchange and cooperation with foreign militaries as well as promoting state-to-state relations.

      (Dec 23, PLA Daily) Editor: Chen Jie



    Liang Guanglie: China's military diplomacy keeps pace with times (2)

    english.chinamil.com.cn 2008-12-24

      Advance amid twists and turns

      It is impossible for military diplomacy to be always plain sailing, and some twists and turns did happen in China's foreign military relations, and the tortuous development process of the China-US military exchanges and the Sino-Japanese military exchanges has left me a strong impression.

      Both China and US are major countries of global influence, and to develop the military relations between the two countries is of great importance towards maintaining world peace and stability. But the bilateral relations experienced twists and turns in the early days of President Bush's government, especially after the incident of "Chinese fighter plane colliding with a US Navy surveillance aircraft" in April 2001, the exchange between the two militaries basically came to a standstill except the meetings of the China-US Military Maritime Security Consultation Mechanism. In the face of such a tough situation, we coped with the situation cool-headedly under the guidance of the Central Government's policy towards the United States. Soon after that, the "September 11" terrorist attack occurred in the United States, the Chinese government swiftly made important decision on the anti-terror issue and the China-US relations saw a favorable turn. In October 2002, President Jiang Zemin reached important consensus with President Bush on restoration and development the China-US military relations during his visit to the United States. Thus the ice of the China-US military ties was broken and the mutual exchange of visits resumed. In recent years, the "Taiwan independence" separatist activities have been rampant, directly harming the peace and stability across the Taiwan Straits, at the same time the China-US military relations have been interfered and affected by some complicated factors. However, with overall interests in mind, the two countries maintained generally stable relations between the two militaries. President Hu Jintao met with President Push for several times to discuss how to jointly expand contact and develop relations between the two militaries. In October 2003, Cao Gangchuan, vice chairman of the Central Military Commission of the PRC visited the US. That was the first visit by the Chinese defense minister to the United States since 1996 and also the highest Chinese military delegation to visit the United States since President Bush took office. This was a very successful visit, for it has promoted the development of the China-US military relations. In January 2004, Air Marshal Myers, chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff of the United States, visited China. In October of the same year, I visited the US in the capacity of the chief of general staff of the PLA, realizing the reciprocal visit between chief of general staff of the PLA and chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff of the United States.

      In October 2005, US Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld visited China. Rumsfeld made an open remark at the end of his visit, saying that it is normal for the Chinese PLA to develop itself, improve its weaponry and carry out modernization drive, the Chinese and US armed forces should seek common grounds while reserving differences and push for steady progress of relations through exchange and cooperation in such forms as military institution education, people-to-people contacts and mutual visits of naval ships.

      In July 2006, Guo Boxing, vice chairman of the Central Military Commission of the PRC, visited the United States upon invitation, and he made a speech entitled "China's Peaceful Development and National Defense Modernization" at the American National Defense University. The US media made the following comments: Vice Chairman Guo drew ringing applause from audience with "a soldier's candid and humorous languages", this calm and assertive general has clearly expressed the hope of strengthening the China-US military exchange and mutual trust. This visit has helped enhance the trust and dispel suspicion, signifying that the China-US relations have been brought to a new level. In recent years, the China-US military exchange has steadily expanded and the co-operation in such fields as anti-terrorism, anti-proliferation, maritime security, humanitarian aid and disaster relief operations has been deepening, making positive contributions to deepening the China-US security relations and maintaining peace and stability in the region and the world as a whole.

      It is regrettable that some people in the US still cling to the Cold War mentality and attempt to contain China by using the "Taiwan issue" and other issues. On the one hand the US side indicated more than once that it doesn't support "Taiwan Independence", on the other hand it continues to sell arms to Taiwan. On October 3 this year, the US government notified the congress to sell 6 types of weaponry and equipment to Taiwan at the value of US$6.463 billion, including "Patriot-3" anti-missile system and "Apache" gun helicopters. Such behavior of the United States has seriously violated the solemn commitments it has made to China on the Taiwan issue, seriously deviated from the consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries on the China-US constructive cooperative relations, and endangered China's national security and seriously interfered with the China-US relations and the relations between the armed forces of the two countries. China forthwith lodged a stern protest and adopted countermeasures. The development of the China-US military relations was faced with the new test.

      As to the Sino-Japanese relations, people like to describe as "cold politically and warm economically". In fact, "cold politically" has more impact upon the exchange between defense sectors of the two countries than any other aspects. Owing to Japanese leaders' visit to the Yasukuni Shrine, the Chinese PLA once suspended to have high-level contact with the Japanese counterpart and the relations between the two sides hit an all time low. After the Japanese Primer Minister Shinzo Abe's visit to China in October 2006, the China-Japan relations saw a favorable turn. In the past two years and more, from the "ice-breaking trip" of Primer Minister Shinzo Abe to Premier Wen Jiabao's "ice-thawing journey" and Japanese Primer Minister Yasuo Fukuda's "greeting spring trip" and President Hu Jintao's "warm spring trip" in May this year, the Sino-Japanese relations have been steadily improving, and the exchange in defense sectors at high-level has also gradually resumed. In August 2007, Cao Gangchuan, vice chairman of the Central Military Commission of the PRC, visited Japan upon invitation and defense departments of the two sides later released a joint news communiqué, the two sides reached broad agreement on strengthening bilateral exchanges and cooperation, indicating that significant progress has been made in terms of cooperation between the defense sectors of the two countries.

      Intensifying the exchange with young and middle-aged officers of the Japanese Self-Defense Force is an important content of promoting the development of Sino-Japanese relations in defense sectors. On July 2, 2008, Xu Caihou, vice chairman of the Central Military Commission of the PRC, stressed when he met with the Kawasaki Japan-China Friendship Fund and the young and middle-aged military officers delegation that the Great Wall is a great project constructed by the Chinese people for security and defense purpose, which reflects China's consistent strategic defense culture.

      The reciprocal visit of naval ships is an important program within the friendly military exchange field and it has strong political and emblematic significance. Although the reciprocal visits between Chinese and Japanese naval ships were raised as early as in 2000, the issue was postponed for several times. It was not until last year when the Sino-Japanese relations showed the signs of virtuous interaction, the reciprocal naval visit was officially put on the agenda. In November 2007, guided missile destroyer "Shenzhen" of the Chinese Navy successfully visited Japan. And then the Japanese destroyer Sazanami visited Zhanjiang in Guangdong Province in June 2008 as the return visit. The destroyer Sazanami also carried such materials as food, sanitary articles and blankets, and other relief materials donated by the Japan Ministry of Defense and the Self-Defense Force to the disaster-stricken area in Sichuan Province. The reciprocal visit of naval ships of the two countries evoked strong reverberation among the netizens. We have always held that China and Japan are each other's important neighbors, and both gain from peaceful coexistence, and lose from conflicts. The Sino-Japanese friendship is hard-won and embodies the painstaking efforts of generations of the people as well as the common aspiration of the people of the two countries. Thus we should cherish it with utmost care. Meanwhile, we should also have confidence and patience for the development of the Sino-Japanese relations.

      The Sino-EU relationship is one of the most important parts of China's foreign relations. Although the PLA has no direct military contact with EU, yet, China's military relations with EU member states have, on the whole, been developing smoothly. There exist some negative factors in the EU's China policy. Especially in the recent period, EU has been exerting pressure upon China on such issues as Tibet, Taiwan, human rights, energy and climate changes, which has, to a certain extent, interfered with the enhancement of China-EU strategic mutual-trust and China-EU Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.

      After the beating, smashing, looting and burning incident in Lhasa on March 14 this year, some Western media played up the so-called the "Tibet issue" and the interference with the Olympic torch relay even occurred in some countries. In September this year, I made a formal visit to Italy, Germany, Belarus and Hungary in the capacity of defense minister. In Italy, I had a candid and friendly talk with Italian Defense Minister Arturo. As expected, he tactfully expressed the concern over the "Tibet issue". I replied: "Your Excellency, we know the situation in Tibet very well, as I made a thorough study and prepared detailed materials on the Tibet issue before I come here." Then, I briefed the minister with focus on Tibet's history and status quo and laid bare the essence of Dalai Group's secessionist activities with the support of detailed data and facts. The Italian side said that what I said was very convincing. Italian Defense Minister Arturo then indicated that the Tibet issue was China's internal affair and Italy had no intention to interfere with. I then took the initiative to explain to our hosts the situation in Tibet when I visited Germany, Belarus and Hungary, and got goodwill response from our hosts. The Hungarian side positively asked me to give them some Tibet-related materials. I feel that there is no political obstacles hindering the development of Sino-EU relations, such as major geo-political conflicts or questions left over by history, the two sides hold same or similar stand on many important international issues. So long as the two sides enhance mutual understanding and trust in the light of the concept of peace and development, some misunderstanding and misgivings occurred during the exchanges can be removed.

      (Dec 23, PLA Daily) Editor: Chen Jie

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