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US, China military leadership meet at Pentagon

Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, right, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Chinese Gen. Fang Fenghui, chief of China's General Staff, walk together during a full-honours arrival ceremony at the Pentagon, May 15, 2014. US DOD photo by D. Myles Cullen

WASHINGTON (PTI): The top military leadership of the US and China met at the Pentagon to discuss a wide range of regional and bilateral issues, including differences over the South and East China seas.

During the meeting General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, invited China to attend the Rim of the Pacific naval exercise (RIMPAC).

"This is to foster and sustain cooperative relationships which help avoid miscalculations and prevent conflict," Dempsey told Pentagon reporters at a joint news conference along with General Fang Fenghui, Chief of the General Staff People's Liberation Army (PLA).

The two agreed to continue to work towards instituting a secure video teleconferencing capability and achieving it by this fall.

"We had a refreshingly frank and open discussion on our mutual concerns and differing opinions about the East China Sea as well as the destabilising effects, in our view, of North Korean actions," he said.

"As we discussed last year, as a major regional power it's important for China to model great power by contributing to stability in the region, and we committed to work with each other toward that end. Today's meetings were productive. We made progress on important issues," Dempsey said.

General Fang said it is important to keep in mind that "we must defend what we have achieved" in the Second World War and prevent the revival of militarism.

"At present, China and United States are actively building the new model of major country relationship according to the important consensus of our presidents. It is not easy for our relationship to take one step after another to reach where it is today," he said.

"Our military relationship is showing a positive momentum, which would benefit the Chinese and American people, and help to secure the peace, stability and prosperity of the region and the world," he said and hoed that the US could hold an objective view on the issues of the South China Sea and the East China Sea.

"Because we believe the ones that are provoking those issues in the South China Sea is not China but certain countries that are attempting to gain their own interest because they believe China is now developing its economy and United States is adopting this Asia-Pacific re-balancing strategy," General Fang said.

Responding to questions on the South China Sea, Fang said the external world should view this issue in an objective and fair manner.

"I don't believe there is any problem for China to do this drilling activity within our own territorial water, and we will make sure that this well be successfully drilled and not be interferenced or disrupted by external factors," he argued.

Dempsey said the two leaders spoke about the fact that the use of military assets to resolve disputes is provocative and it does increase risk.

Fang said he believed the Asia-Pacific's current situation is stable, generally speaking, because they do not see wars in this region like wars taking place in other regions.

"I would also believe that the relationship between China and United States and between our two militaries is very important in maintaining the peace and stability in the region," he added.


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