China, US boost military hotline
The Chinese and US militaries agreed on Thursday to take further measures to boost cooperation and manage differences.
General Fang Fenghui, chief of the General Staff of China’s People’s Liberation Army, said the two sides agreed to carry on substantive consultation at the earliest date possible on establishing a mechanism for notification of major military actions, as well as the standards of behavior on the high seas.
The two sides also agreed to upgrade the hotline between the chief of PLA General Staff and US chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff into a secure video conferencing system, Fang told the joint press conference at the Pentagon on Thursday afternoon, after holding more than two hours meeting with General Martin Dempsey.
Dempsey said he hoped the secure video conferencing would be in place by the fall of this year.
Fang is paying a five-day visit to the US at the invitation of Dempsey, who visited China in April of last year at the invitation of Fang.
Before the two started their meeting on Thursday morning, Fang and his delegation received full military honors in a welcoming ceremony on the big lawn outside the Pentagon building facing the Potomac River and the Washington Monument.
An honor guard of about 250 from the US Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard took part in the ceremony, which included a 19-gun salute and the Navy band performing the national anthems of China and the US. Some Pentagon officials said they hadn’t seen such a grand welcoming ceremony for quite a while.
Other progress made after the meeting on Thursday included that both sides will promote more joint exercises in search and rescue, humanitarian aid and disaster relief and the establishment of a dialogue mechanism between the strategic planning departments of the two militaries. The two sides also want to explore joint drills in a third country.
Fang said the topics covered during the talks included counterterrorism, anti-piracy on the high seas, the Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea and issues in South China Sea.
One thing that stands out and makes Wiseman particularly proud is the institute’s ability to prepare Chinese-language teachers at public schools, mainly at the elementary and secondary school level.
With funds from Confucius Institute Headquarters in Beijing four years ago, Wiseman was able to build a brand new academic unit within her own College of Education, called the Center for Chinese Teacher Certification and Development, to offer master’s degrees and certificates to students who aspire to becoming Chinese-language teachers.
“There is such a demand. Each time we prepare a group of teachers, every one of them is hired almost immediately,” said Wiseman, who was a public school teacher before entering the field of higher education.
Wiseman said when she was appointed to the position by the university’s president four years ago, she started looking for ways to enhance the institute, and teaching, which the university is good at, was the obvious thing for her to focus on.
“You have to look at your own strength at your own university and make a decision about what it is you are already doing at your campus and can be enhanced by the Confucius Institute,” said Wiseman, who often receives inquiries from universities looking for advice on establishing Confucius Institutes on their campus.
“Confucius Institute is very adaptable. Each CI has a brand or stamp it is known for. In our location, it just happens that we are focused on teaching. So look for something that is unique to them and their way of increasing Chinese language and culture,” said Wiseman, who has published books and articles on literacy and teacher education.
Wiseman first went to China in 1986 with her husband who was in charge of international education at Texas A & M University. That helped to develop her interest in China. Wiseman later traveled to China on her own academic exchanges, often giving lectures to universities in China.
“It’s been fascinating to watch China change over the years I visited,” Wiseman said, adding that she now goes to China at least once a year in her role as director.
Wiseman said her next goal is to have the institute become very innovative in teaching Chinese language, mainly integrating technology into education.
She also hopes the institute can devote more on research into how people best learn the Chinese language.
“We need to be asking questions about how people best learn language and culture, how can we encourage it, and how can we really build it up to find out what is the best way to teach and learn the Chinese language. ”
General Fang Fenghui, chief of the General Staff of China’s People’s Liberation Army, speaks at a joint press conference at the Pentagon on Thursday afternoon after holding a two-hour meeting with General Martin Dempsey (left), chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.