Dunford’s China visit could help prevent conflict: experts
By admin On 16 Aug, 2017 At 04:03 PM | Categorized As Army, China News, Hot News, Reviews, World News | With 0 Comments

By Li Ruohan Source:Global Times Published: 2017/8/16 19:43:40

Meeting builds mutual trust, prevents miscalculations

U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford, right, and Chinese Northern Theater Command Commander Gen. Song Puxuan, left, eat lunch with Chinese troops at Northern Theater Command Army Force Haichung Camp in Haichung, China, Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2017. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Chinese Northern Theater Command Commander Song Puxuan and chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford eat lunch at the Northern Theater Command Army Force Haicheng Camp in Haicheng, Liaoning Province, Wednesday. Photo: AP

A top US general visited Northeast China on Wednesday in a bid to help mitigate differences and avoid conflict as tensions on the Korean Peninsula continue to rise.

Joseph Dunford, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, on Wednesday met with Song Puxuan, commander of the PLA Northern Theater Command in Haicheng, Northeast China’s Liaoning Province.

During the meeting, Song reaffirmed China’s stance on the denuclearization of the Korea Peninsula and peace and stability in the peninsula, stressing the need for dialogue and negotiations.

Fang Fenghui, chief of the Joint Staff Department of China’s Central Military Commission, met Dunford on Tuesday in Beijing. The two exchanged views on Taiwan, the South China Sea and North Korea, according to press releases from the two countries’ defense departments.

The US military delegation aims to have a closer look into the situation near North Korea by visiting the PLA Northern Theater Command, which is responsible for protecting the safety of Northeast China, Zhao Xiaozhuo, a research fellow at the Academy of Military Science of the People’s Liberation Army, told the Global Times.

However, the remarks from the military theater command on the North Korea issue sends a clear signal to the US that peaceful dialogue is the only effective approach, Zhao said.

Dunford “conveyed America’s readiness to use the full range of military capabilities to defend our allies and the US homeland,” when he met Monday with South Korea’s defense minister Song Young-moo, AFP reported.

US officials said Dunford’s visit aims to create a mechanism for improving communication between the sides, especially on sensitive issues like North Korea, and the two sides signed an agreement committing to that goal, with the details to be discussed during talks in Washington in November, the Associated Press reported.

“The meeting between top officials of the two militaries’ commanding body will have a more direct effect to mitigate crisis and avoid confrontation for the frontline troops when emergency occurs,” Zhao said.

“Although China and the US differ on several issues, and the conflict will remain since the two military powers have different social systems and values, it does not mean they are doomed to fighting and have no chance of further military-to-military ties,” Zhao said.

The two attach great importance to mitigating the crisis and expanding cooperation under their leaders’ pragmatic strategies, and the meeting builds mutual trust and reduces the possibility of miscalculations, he added.

Major concerns

The most pressing concern of both countries is the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue, as tensions continue to rise from heated rhetoric from the US and North Korea, Jin Canrong, associate dean of the Department of International Studies at the Renmin University of China, told the Global Times.

“We cannot rule out the possibility of a conflict, and when that occurs, China and the US need to make sure that they will not be involved in direct confrontations,” Jin added.

Experts noted that discussions on Taiwan were also timely and necessary after the US tried to “normalize” its weapons sale to the island and approved a bill authorizing the resumption of reciprocal naval port visits.

In June, the US said it planned to sell the island $1.42 billion in arms, the first such sale under the Trump administration. China said it strongly opposes the deal and lodged representations with the US.

“Unlike his predecessor Barack Obama, who never used Taiwan to counterbalance China’s influence because of his awareness of China’s bottom line, Trump intends to use Taiwan as leverage, which is very dangerous,” Jin noted.

Experts pointed out that the resumption of port visits in Taiwan, which is the first since the US established diplomatic ties with Chinese mainland, will bring foreseeable confrontation between the two countries.

“The resumption will allow the US the unbridled ability to dock its warships on the island, which is another form of its military presence on the island,” Zhao said.

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