U.S. Defense Chief Meets with Chinese Counterpart

The Los Angeles Times reports on a recent meeting between Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and his Chinese counterpart, Liang Guanglie, the first in a year:

Gates said afterward that he told Liang that “when there are disagreements, it’s all the more important to talk with each other, not less,” according to the Pentagon’s website.

Gates also said he had accepted a formal invitation from Liang to visit Beijing for more talks with senior Chinese military officials. The visit is expected early next year.

The Chinese military broke off contacts in January after the Pentagon announced plans to sell more than $6 billion worth of arms to Taiwan, which Beijing considers a renegade territory.

U.S. officials have long sought better ties with the Chinese military, hoping to improve their understanding of its leaders and their secretive plans for expansion. But the Chinese military appears suspicious of U.S. motives.

Also, from the New York Times, “U.S. Alarmed by Harsh Tone of China’s Military“:

The Pentagon is worried that its increasingly tense relationship with the Chinese military owes itself in part to the rising leaders of Commander Cao’s generation, who, much more than the country’s military elders, view the United States as the enemy. Older Chinese officers remember a time, before the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989 set relations back, when American and Chinese forces made common cause against the Soviet Union.

The younger officers have known only an anti-American ideology, which casts the United States as bent on thwarting China’s rise.

“All militaries need a straw man, a perceived enemy, for solidarity,” said Huang Jing, a scholar of China’s military and leadership at the National University of Singapore. “And as a young officer or soldier, you always take the strongest of straw men to maximize the effect. Chinese military men, from the soldiers and platoon captains all the way up to the army commanders, were always taught that America would be their enemy.”

October 11, 2010 3:35 PM
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