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US, China Agree to Reduce 'Risk of Miscalculation' Between Armies

Sputnik News

20:49 25.09.2015(updated 21:57 25.09.2015)

The United States and China have agreed to reduce the risks of miscalculated moves between the two countries' armed forces in the Asia Pacific region, US President Barack Obama stated on Friday.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – Obama's remarks come as Washington has repeatedly called on China to halt land reclamation efforts of the disputed Spratley Islands in the South China Sea.

'With respect to security in the Asia Pacific, we agreed to more channels of communication to reduce the risks of miscalculations between our militaries,' Obama stated in a joint press conference with Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping at the White House.

The US president said he and Xi had an opportunity to discuss the disputed areas of the East and South China seas, and reiterated to his Chinese counterpart 'the right of all countries to freedom of navigation and overflight and to unimpeded commerce.'

'I conveyed to president Xi our significant concerns over land reclamation construction and the militarization of disputed areas, which makes harder for countries in the region to resolve disagreements peacefully,' Obama pointed out.

Countries located in and around the areas of the South China Sea, including the Philippines, Malaysia and Vietnam, have expressed competing claims to the disputed Spratly Islands. China claims sovereignty over the Spratly Islands and the 12 nautical mile zone surrounding them.

The United States has warned that it does not recognize the sovereignty of the Chinese claims, and has repeatedly raised concerns over Beijing's activities in the region.

Meanwhile, Chinese President Xi Jinping said during a joint press conference with Obama that the US and China had agreed to step up their military dialogue and begin to hold more joint military drills and training.

'We have fully affirmed the new progress made in the confidence-building mechanisms between the two militaries,' Xi stated. 'We have agreed to step up exchanges and policy dialogues between two militaries at all levels, hold more joint exercises and training.'

Xi also noted he and Obama agreed that 'terrorism was the common enemy of mankind' and consequently also agreed to 'step up multilateral and bilateral counterterrorism cooperation.'

The commitment to expand military cooperation follows two Memoranda of Understanding on Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) military deals that the United States and China signed in November 2014.

As part of the CBMs, Washington and Beijing agreed to avoid military confrontation in Asia. The CBMs stipulate the two countries notify the one another of major military activities, policy and strategy development, and also outlines rules of engagement in air and maritime incidents.


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