Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, and General

Chen Bingde, commander of the People's Liberation Army General Staff,

hold a press conference at the Pentagon, May 19.


Huanqui, People's Republic of China

Blunt Talk Reflects Improved Sino-U.S. Military Relations


Is it a good sign when one of China's top military leaders accuses the United States of being a 'big bully?' According to this editorial from China's state-controlled Huanqui, America's war 'hawks' need to reconsider their logic when it comes to issues like selling weapons to Taiwan, and that only through a frank and open dialogue can future military confrontations be avoided.




Ann Tang Kubusek


May 20, 2011


People's Republic of China - Huanqiu - Original Article (Chinese)

At a May 19 press conference in the United States, commanding general of the People's Liberation Army General Staff, Chen Bingde [陈炳德], very bluntly accused the United States of being a "big bully" [video above]. This reflects contemporary Chinese military confidence and the frank exchange of ideas between the U.S. and Chinese militaries.


The core element for the development of Sino-U.S. relations is military affairs. While interactions at every level of the economy, trade and government have become frequent and frank, the military dialogue in particular cannot serve only to please and relax. Straightforward and clear communication is essential for addressing difficult issues.


This type of healthy atmosphere doesn’t just fall from the sky, but is a result of political spats between the two countries and efforts by the two sides to try and figure out the other. For a long period of time, whenever there was a crisis, military exchanges between the two sides were the first to be broken. This type of back-and-forth has marked public opinion about Sino-U.S. military affairs, and has led to faulty decision making. 


In fact in recent years, progress on some non-strategic levels has been made, such as a military hotline, exchanges of young and middle-level military officers, logistics, art and sports exchanges. Though such exchanges don’t seem particularly conspicuous, they do serve as a basis for creating a more solid foundation.  



Sino-U.S. military relations are beginning to transcend the imaginations of the hawks. Over the past decade or so, both sides have endured all kinds of ordeals, such as issues related to the Taiwan Strait, the bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade, an air collision [the Hainan Island Incident], and other peripheral conflicts, which in turn have resulted in a set of implicit rules that ensure, "fights without splitting."



Such a playing field should be attributed to accurate positioning and rational decision making. The theory of "Mutually Assured Destruction" that prevailed during the nuclear age dissuaded the two countries from going to war, and gradually became an unwritten understanding. Within such a framework, the language of confrontation, differences over strategic deterrence and even military conflicts can be easily avoided.


During the 18th century, England and France fought for supremacy over the Western world; during the 19th century, France and Germany fought to seize the territory of the other; and during the 20th century, Japan and the U.S. fought a desperate and decisive life-or-death battle. The lessons of history illustrate the need, in this age of globalization, for the armies of China and America to walk shoulder to shoulder with strategic skill and great wisdom.


The central trends of military reorganization in the Asia-Pacific and the world have significantly improved the strategic trust between the U.S. and China. Both militaries have taken on the responsibility of erecting a historic military signpost for the world. 


In this context, the comments of General Chen Bingde went straight to the heart of the matter. America’s military hawks should readjust their logic. For example, if the United States stops selling weapons to Taiwan, that would mean giving up on Taiwan. Or, that not causing friction along China’s coastal areas is synonymous with giving up on the island chain issue. This simplistic manner of U.S. assessment, oversimplification, hypersensitivity and politicization is what generates a lack of trust between the two militaries, makes stepping back from confrontation more difficult, and creates unpredictable patterns in future situations.


Sino-U.S. military exchanges can take occasional sidesteps, but they must continue moving forward. The two countries shouldn't act impulsively, but they must have the courage to try new things. The chances of a great war breaking out between the U.S. and China is far lower than it was in the past, but to ensure future security, we must build greater trust. Perhaps through more concrete cooperation, new breakthroughs can be achieved.



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[Posted by WORLDMEETS.US June 19, 10:52pm]


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