US, China agree to work to avoid military confrontations in Pacific: Obama
Iran Press TV
Fri Sep 25, 2015 6:41PM
US President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping have agreed to launch "new channels of communication" to avoid accidental military confrontations between their armed forces in the Pacific Ocean.
"We agreed to new channels of communication to reduce the risk of miscalculations between our militaries," Obama said at a joint news conference with Xi in the White House in Washington, DC on Friday.
The announcement comes amid rising tensions between the two countries in the South and East China Seas over American meddling into Beijing's territorial disputes with some regional nations.
The Pentagon on Tuesday blamed a Chinese fighter jet pilot for making a "dangerous" maneuver near a US reconnaissance aircraft over the Yellow Sea, which is the name of the northern part of the East China Sea.
"One of the maneuvers conducted by the Chinese aircraft during this intercept was perceived as unsafe by the RC-135 air crew and at this point, right now, there's no indication this was a near collision, but the report that came back was that the plane operated in an unsafe fashion," Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said.
'The pilot reported that he felt ... the aircraft passed in front of his nose in an unsafe fashion,' Cook said, referring to the Chinese jet. 'There's no indication this was a near collision.'
Last year, an armed Chinese jet came within some 20 feet of a US Navy P-8 aircraft and showed the American plane its weapons load, Pentagon officials said.
According to a White House statement, President Obama and Xi on Friday agreed to add new annexes on air-to-air safety and crisis communications to previous agreements drafted to establish confidence between the militaries of the two countries in the Asia Pacific region.
Tensions between China and the US escalated in November 2013 after Beijing declared an air identification zone over the East China Sea.
The Obama administration is trying to keep its focus on a widely advertised shift to Asia, which it has pursued since 2011. The White House argues that no region is more important to the United States' long-term interests than Asia.
However, according to an assessment released in May by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the Obama administration's Asia pivot has not been successful and American power and influence in the region has been declining.
Observers believe America's efforts to increase its presence in the Asia-Pacific region is aimed at containing China.
China accuses the United States of meddling in the regional issues and deliberately stirring up tensions in the South China Sea.
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