US, China Militaries Talk More: Does that Make World Safer?

The Christian Science Monitor reports on ongoing talks between U.S. and Chinese military leaders: Gen. Xu Caihou, the second-ranking officer in the People’s Liberation Army, is visiting a string of key American military installations this week in the highest-level trip by a Chinese general to the United States since 2006. Few observers, though, expect the two countries’ recently renewed military-to-military discussions – which General Xu endorsed at a meeting with US Defense Secretary Robert Gates Tuesday – to resolve the fundamental mistrust between the two powers. Xu’s weeklong visit “is an important first step to rebuild this relationship,” says Ted Galen Carpenter, vice president of the Cato Institute in Washington. “But the underlying suspicions are probably too great to be cleared up for a very long time.” Instead, talks are likely to focus on technical agreements to prevent incidents blowing up into major conflict. Washington and Beijing exchanged angry words earlier this year when Chinese vessels swarmed a US Navy submarine surveillance ship in the South China Sea. See also “U.S. calls for lasting military dialogue with China” from Reuters and “China, US ties march ahead” from People’s Daily. ...
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