USA/China — Gates: U.S.-China Military-to-Military Ties Need Work

SINGAPORE, June 3, 2010 — The mil­i­tary-to-mil­i­tary aspect of U.S. rela­tions with Chi­na has lagged behind progress in oth­er areas and falls short of what the lead­ers of both coun­tries have said they want, Defense Sec­re­tary Robert M. Gates said here today.

Short­ly before arriv­ing in Sin­ga­pore to attend the “Shangri-La Dia­logue” Asia secu­ri­ty con­fer­ence, Gates told reporters trav­el­ing with him that he had hoped to vis­it Chi­na while he was in the region, but that Chi­nese offi­cials said it isn’t a good time. 

He said he’d heard rumors for weeks that the poten­tial vis­it was­n’t going to hap­pen, but that he’d wait­ed for for­mal word from the Chi­nese dur­ing the recent secu­ri­ty and eco­nom­ic dia­logue before the trip was removed from plans for his itinerary. 

“I did not want to take a step that made it look like I was can­celling the vis­it,” he said, “and so I wait­ed until we got some­thing more offi­cial from the Chi­nese side.” 

Gates said he believes a more-open dia­logue with the Chi­nese about mil­i­tary mod­ern­iza­tion pro­grams and about the two nations’ strate­gic views of the world would be constructive. 

“We have had such a dia­logue with Rus­sia for over 30 years,” he said, “and I think it helps to pre­vent mis­cal­cu­la­tions and mis­un­der­stand­ings and cre­ates oppor­tu­ni­ties for coop­er­a­tion. So I’m dis­ap­point­ed that the [People’s Lib­er­a­tion Army] lead­er­ship has not seen the same poten­tial ben­e­fits from this kind of a mil­i­tary-to-mil­i­tary rela­tion­ship as their own lead­er­ship and the Unit­ed States seem to think would be of ben­e­fit. So we’ll just wait and see.” 

Asked whether he believes Chi­na is try­ing to make a point about U.S. arms sales to Tai­wan, Gates point­ed out that those arms sales have been going on for 30 years and were part of the process toward nor­mal­iza­tion of rela­tions between the two countries. 

“Cen­tral to our abil­i­ty to go for­ward with nor­mal­iza­tion in 1979,” he said, “was the pas­sage of the Tai­wan Rela­tions Act, which man­dat­ed that the Unit­ed States main­tain the defens­es of Tai­wan, and we have sold weapons to Tai­wan ever since. 

“This is not new news to the Chi­nese,” he con­tin­ued. “And the sales under the Bush admin­is­tra­tion and under the Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion in both cas­es were care­ful­ly cal­i­brat­ed to keep them on the defen­sive side. So it depends on whether the Chi­nese want to make a big deal of it or not, but the real­i­ty is these arms sales go back to the begin­ning of the rela­tion­ship, and were one of the con­di­tions that came through the Con­gress as part of the nor­mal­iza­tion process.” 

Gates said the arms sales have not inhib­it­ed devel­op­ment of the polit­i­cal and eco­nom­ic rela­tion­ships between the Unit­ed States and China. 

“If they want to sin­gle out the mil­i­tary side of the rela­tion­ship as the place where they want to play this out, then so be it,” the sec­re­tary said. “But it has not imped­ed the devel­op­ment of the rela­tion­ship in oth­er areas.” 

Gates not­ed that Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma and Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Hu Jin­tao have advo­cat­ed a “sus­tain­able and reli­able” rela­tion­ship between their nations’ militaries. 

“I think they mean a rela­tion­ship that does­n’t move in fits and starts and isn’t affect­ed by every change in the polit­i­cal weath­er,” he said, “and that’s where I would like to see this rela­tion­ship go.” 

The sec­re­tary said he believes the People’s Lib­er­a­tion Army could do more to advance its mil­i­tary-to-mil­i­tary rela­tion­ship with the Unit­ed States. 

“I would just express it as my opin­ion that the PLA is sig­nif­i­cant­ly less inter­est­ed in devel­op­ing this rela­tion­ship than the polit­i­cal lead­er­ship in the coun­try,” he said 

Source:
U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs) 

Team GlobDef

Team GlobDef

Seit 2001 ist GlobalDefence.net im Internet unterwegs, um mit eigenen Analysen, interessanten Kooperationen und umfassenden Informationen für einen spannenden Überblick der Weltlage zu sorgen. GlobalDefence.net war dabei die erste deutschsprachige Internetseite, die mit dem Schwerpunkt Sicherheitspolitik außerhalb von Hochschulen oder Instituten aufgetreten ist.

Alle Beiträge ansehen von Team GlobDef →