China, US boost mil­i­tary hot­line

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - By CHEN WEIHUA in Wash­ing­ton chen­wei­hua@chi­nadai­lyusa.com

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. ”

CHEN WEIHUA / CHINA DAILY

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.

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