RIMPAC drill signals China-U.S. trust building
People's Daily Online
(Xinhua) 18:32, June 10, 2014
The Chinese navy's unprecedented participation in the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) multinational naval exercises has sent a positive signal for building trust between China and the United States.
On Monday, a fleet consisting of a missile destroyer, a missile frigate, a supply ship, a hospital ship and two helicopters, a commando and a diving squad departed from two Chinese coastal cities to participate in the joint maritime exercises organized by the U.S. navy.
The departure of the fleet, honoring an invitation from the United States, demonstrated China's positive attitude toward expanding cooperation and building trust with the U.S. military.
RIMPAC, started in 1971, is the world's largest multinational maritime military exercise.
Deputy Commander of the Chinese Navy Xu Hongmeng said the mission is an important part of efforts to build a new model of relations between China and the United States and their militaries.
It was noteworthy that the departure of the ships occurred just one day after the first anniversary of the end of the June summit attended by Chinese President Xi Jinping and his U.S. counterpart Barack Obama last year.
Military-to-military contact, an area highlighted by the two national leaders in their summit, had long been regarded as the weakest link in the China-U.S. relationship. However, since last year, the two militaries have held frequent high-level exchanges, including the exchange visits by defense chiefs.
The two navies have also held joint activities over the past year, which included a rare search-and-rescue exercise in Hawaii and a second joint anti-piracy drill in the Gulf of Aden.
The RIMPAC naval drill is consistent with the positive momentum of these exercises.
Given that the Asia-Pacific is where the interests of China and the United States intertwine the most, China's participation also shows that, though China and the United States differ on certain issues, the two nations have been making concrete steps toward trust building.
Meanwhile, the multinational exercise, which will also be joined by forces from Singapore and Brunei, signaled China's willingness to deepen its friendly cooperation with countries in Southeast Asia.
As Xu noted, the mission is significant in diplomatic terms as it will help relations between China and nations in Southeast Asia.
The exercise demonstrates China's initiative in contributing to regional security.
Regional stability entails trust building efforts by both China and the United States. However, it should also be noted that the way to building mutual trust, which is so important for bilateral ties, has not been smooth due to disturbance from the U.S. side.
A reminder of this is the latest Pentagon report, which cast doubt once again on the transparency of China's military and exaggerated tensions between China and neighboring countries over maritime disputes, despite China's efforts to clarify its strategic intentions of peaceful development.
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