A “Refreshingly Frank Dialogue”

Gen. Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Chinese Chief of Defense Fang Fenghui met to discuss ways the two militaries can work together to advance a new model of US-China military relationships, they announced during a joint press conference at the Pentagon Thursday. Specifically, the two leaders discussed ways to strengthen the military-to-military relationship between the two countries, cooperation on counter-terrorism and counter-piracy, as well as ways to protect against threats in the South China Sea. Dempsey said a number of initiatives are being put in place, including inviting China to join the US in the Rim of the Pacific exercises, and a new secure video conferencing system, among other things that will “build a positive relationship, help us manage risk, and reduce the chance of misunderstanding.” Dempsey also said the pair had a “refreshingly frank dialog” about the differences in opinions on concerns surrounding the South China Sea. “We should all abide by the principle of non-conflict and non-confrontation,” Fenghui said, adding he hopes the US would maintain a neutral view of the conflicts in the South China Sea. “We don’t make trouble, we do not create trouble, but we are not afraid of trouble. … We can fulfill what we have said.” (See also A SEA Change from the July 2012 issue of Air Force Magazine.)