The People’s Liberation Army band will be making an historic joint appearance with the U.S. Army band at Washington’s Kennedy Center, but it is unclear what if any impact such cooperation will have on bilateral military ties. From the Christian Science Monitor:
It is no secret that tension between America and China has been growing along with China’s military ambitions and US arms sales to Taiwan. The hope is that what has jokingly been dubbed the “battle of the bands” will be a step toward helping to build a “strong, stable” partnership, Dempsey said.
The concert was a prelude to a visit this week by Gen. Chen Bingde, chief of the general staff of the People’s Liberation Army, along with seven other generals. It is the PLA’s first trip to America since China suspended military ties with the Pentagon early last year, after the US sold more than $6 billion in arms to Taiwan.
The question now is how much the military leaders can realistically hope to accomplish, given US concerns about the pace of China’s military buildup – and Chinese suspicions about American intentions in the Pacific.
In the past year, the Pentagon leadership has expressed growing concern about China’s cyberespionage forays and its robust Navy, including the possible launch of its first aircraft carrier later this year.
These trends are troubling to US military officials, who are seeking to expand American military presence in the Pacific.
See also a Wall Street Journal report on the upcoming military summit.