Se­nior mil­i­tary of­fi­cials agree to man­age dif­fer­ences

China, US pledge to con­trol risk

Pakistan Observer - - INTERNATIONAL -

BEIJING—Se­nior mil­i­tary of­fi­cials from Beijing and Washington have pledged to try to man­age their dif­fer­ences in a con­struc­tive way and ef­fec­tively con­trol risks, fol­low­ing re­cent mar­itime ten­sions in the South China Sea.

Ten­sions rose af­ter the US guided-mis­sile de­stroyer Wil­liam P. Lawrence en­tered Chi­nese waters on Tues­day off Yong­shu Reef in the South China Sea in what the US claims was a “free­dom of nav­i­ga­tion” op­er­a­tion.

Ob­servers said it will take time to see if Washington will match its words with deeds, as the United States may seek to in­crease its mil­i­tary pres­ence in the re­gion.

Dur­ing a video con­fer­ence on Thurs­day night Beijing time, Chi­nese Chief of the Gen­eral Staff Fang Fenghui told US Joint Chiefs of Staff Chair­man Joseph Dun­ford that China val­ues free­dom of nav­i­ga­tion in the South China Sea “more than any other coun­try in the world”.

Fang, also a mem­ber of China’s Cen­tral Mil­i­tary Com­mis­sion, urged the two sides to bear in mind the over­all sit­u­a­tion and to con­struc­tively man­age their dif­fer­ences.

Dun­ford was quoted by Xin­hua News Agency as say­ing that the US is will­ing to work with China to es­tab­lish an ef­fec­tive mech­a­nism for risk con­trol in or­der to peace­fully main­tain sta­bil­ity in the South China Sea.

The con­ver­sa­tion came at a time when Beijing and Washington have ex­changed barbs af­ter US mil­i­tary pa­trols and ex­er­cises near China’s Nan­sha Is­lands.

Fu Mengzi, vice-pres­i­dent of the China In­sti­tutes of Con­tem­po­rary In­ter­na­tional Re­la­tions, said both coun­tries agree on the need to main­tain sta­bil­ity in the South China Sea, and nei­ther wants con­flict.

“It is not worth it if re­la­tions be­tween the two mil­i­taries de­te­ri­o­rate over the South China Sea issue,” he said, adding that the US should play a more con­struc­tive role to re­solve the issue.

Dur­ing a reg­u­lar news con­fer­ence on Fri­day, For­eign Min­istry spokesman Lu Kang blamed “a cer­tain coun­try” that is thou­sands of kilo­me­ters away from the South China Sea for “stir­ring up ten­sions in the re­gion”.

“Un­like this coun­try, China sin­cerely hopes to main­tain re­gional peace, sta­bil­ity, se­cu­rity and pros­per­ity, be­cause this is in ac­cor­dance with our own in­ter­ests,” Lu said.

China’s stance on the South China Sea has won wide sup­port from the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity, with nearly 40 coun­tries voic­ing sup­port for its state­ments.

Mean­while, a state­ment is­sued at the close of the sev­enth min­is­te­rial meet­ing of the China-Arab Co­op­er­a­tion Fo­rum on Thurs­day said that the par­tic­i­pat­ing Arab na­tions sup­port China’s ef­forts to peace­fully re­solve ter­ri­to­rial and mar­itime dif­fer­ences through di­a­logue.

Fu of the China In­sti­tutes of Con­tem­po­rary In­ter­na­tional Re­la­tions said Washington is likely to con­tinue to take ad­van­tage of the South China Sea issue to re­al­ize its goal of an Asia-Pa­cific re­bal­ance.

James Baker, who served as sec­re­tary of state un­der for­mer pres­i­dent Ge­orge H.W. Bush, told China Daily that al­though there are ar­eas of con­verg­ing in­ter­ests with China, ar­eas of ten­sion will con­tinue to ex­ist. “But we need to man­age dif­fer­ences that are go­ing to ex­ist.”—CD

[File photo]

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Pakistan

© PressReader. All rights reserved.