US and Chi­nese mil­i­taries need more mu­tual trust

China Daily (Latin America Weekly) - - 11 Comment Editorial • Opinion -

There was more bick­er­ing be­tween China and the United States at the 17th Shangri-La Di­a­logue in Sin­ga­pore over the week­end. And given the provoca­tive ac­tions US war­ships have re­peat­edly taken in the South China Sea due to Wash­ing­ton’s mis­cal­cu­la­tions of what China has done in its at­tempt to de­fend its own ter­ri­to­rial wa­ters, it is nec­es­sary for both mil­i­taries to sit down and talk. It is be­yond doubt that whether the world’s largest de­vel­oped coun­try and largest devel­op­ing coun­try can bet­ter man­age their dif­fer­ences is the key to peace and devel­op­ment in the Asia-Pa­cific and the world at large.

The US mil­i­tary should never un­der­es­ti­mate the re­solve of its Chi­nese coun­ter­part to de­fend the coun­try’s ter­ri­to­rial in­tegrity and its sovereignty. Both sides need to do what­ever they can to pre­vent any con­tin­gen­cies from es­ca­lat­ing into a di­rect con­flict.

What is badly needed is mu­tual trust. And com­mu­ni­ca­tion is the way to es­tab­lish that trust. More com­mu­ni­ca­tion will help each side bet­ter un­der­stand each other’s bot­tom lines and thus know where to toe the line.

More com­mu­ni­ca­tion will also help both sides to work out ways to bet­ter man­age or even shelve their dif­fer­ences.

As far as the South China Sea is con­cerned, China has no in­ten­tion of in­ter­fer­ing with free­dom of nav­i­ga­tion ex­cept for its ef­forts to de­fend its own ter­ri­to­rial wa­ters. In ad­di­tion, China has re­it­er­ated that it will do its ut­most to solve or man­age the ter­ri­to­rial dis­putes with its neigh­bors through di­a­logue.

As for the Tai­wan ques­tion, there has been no mis­un­der­stand­ing be­tween the US and China about the is­land’s sta­tus. The si­t­u­a­tion across the Tai­wan Straits should not de­te­ri­o­rate un­less the is­land au­thor­i­ties mis­in­ter­pret any mes­sage from the US or the lat­ter sends a wrong sig­nal bol­ster­ing the nerve of se­ces­sion­ists on the is­land. Ei­ther one will likely be­come the source of in­creased ten­sions across the Straits.

US Sec­re­tary of De­fense James Mat­tis said in Sin­ga­pore that the US would con­tinue to pur­sue “co­op­er­a­tion when­ever pos­si­ble”, and that he would visit Bei­jing soon at China’s in­vi­ta­tion. He also men­tioned that the US mil­i­tary will seek to strengthen mu­tual trust with its Chi­nese coun­ter­parts.

Pa­tience on the part of the US mil­i­tary is needed to lis­ten to what its Chi­nese coun­ter­part says about the South China Sea and about what it has done there. And it is also im­per­a­tive for the US to un­der­stand where China’s core in­ter­est lies and its needs as a rising power in terms of its de­fense strat­egy.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from China

© PressReader. All rights reserved.