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Four meetings between Chinese and U.S. naval chiefs in one year

( Source: China Military Online  )         2014-September-18 16:26

  BEIJING, September 18 (ChinaMil) -- Wu Shengli, member of the China's Central Military Commission (CMC) and commander of the Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN), is currently heading a delegation to participate in the biennial "International Sea Power Symposium" in the U.S., marking the 4th time of meeting between the Chinese and U.S. naval chiefs within one year.

  Wu Shengli participates in the 21st "International Sea Power Symposium" hosted by the U.S. Naval War College at the invitation of Admiral Jonathan Greenert, U.S. Chief of Naval Operations.

  Navy and coastguard chiefs from more than 100 countries participated in the symposium. Participation by the Chinese navy chief was the first time in history and marked the second "first time" in the interaction between the Chinese and U.S. navies within three months. The naval taskforce of the Chinese PLAN participated in the U.S.-hosted Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise in July, which is the largest multilateral joint military exercise on the sea. China had never been invited to participate in the RIMPAC before.

  Four meetings between Chinese and U.S. naval chiefs in one year

  When Wu Shengli visited the U.S. last time upon Admiral Jonathan Greenert's invitation, the two sides exchanged views on building a new-type naval ties and constructively pushing forward the naval relations between the two countries. During his visit in the U.S., Wu Shengli visited the U.S. Third Fleet Headquarters, Marine Corps Camp Pendleton, USS Carl Vinson and SSN759 Jefferson City.

  Coincidentally, Jonathan Greenert also visited China twice this year. He participated in the 14th meeting of the Western Pacific Naval Symposium (WPNS) in Qingdao in April and later paid a five-day visit to China in July upon the invitation of Admiral Wu Shengli.

  The website of the U.S. National Defense monthly published a report titled Greenert: U.S. Navy wishes to build constructive relations with China on September 8, saying that he has had the most frequent interaction with Wu Shengli among all naval chiefs in the Asia Pacific in the past few months.

  According to Zhang Junshe, a researcher with the Naval Military Academic Research Institute, Wu Shengli's U.S. visit is a concrete step in implementing the consensus reached by the Chinese and U.S. heads of state and advancing the development of the two militaries and the two navies. The visit will give a positive boost to building a new-type military-to-military relations between China and the U.S.

  Regarding the divergences behind the China-U.S. military-to-military relations, Zhang Junshe said that divergences between the two militaries are normal and can be solved through exchanges and cooperation, during which the two sides shall try to better understand each other and respect the other party's key interests and major concerns.

  Role of aircraft carrier highlighted, China's aircraft carrier "Liaoning" draws attention

  Another noteworthy detail in the meetings between the Chinese and U.S. naval chiefs is that China's aircraft carrier began to play a bigger role.

  When Wu Shengli visited the U.S. last September, Zhang Zheng, captain of China's first aircraft carrier "Liaoning", and Dai Mingmeng, the pilot who successfully carried out the first landing on aircraft carrier "Liaoning", were in the delegation. During their stay in the U.S., Zhang Zheng and Dai Mingmeng introduced the information about the aircraft carrier "Liaoning" to the U.S. side.

  According to a report by New York Times, Greenert boarded the aircraft carrier "Liaoning" that was under repair at the Dalian port when he visited China in mid-July. In previous April, the U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel was the first foreign defense leader aboard the aircraft carrier "Liaoning".

  Greenert also said that China had invited the USS George Washington CVN-73 to visit China, and would arrange crews of the USS George Washington and the aircraft carrier "Liaoning" to visit each other's aircraft carrier.

  Greenert told Wall Street Journal in an interview that he accepted the idea of sailing the Japan-based USS George Washington CVN-73 to China and allowing officers and men on China's aircraft carrier "Liaoning" to board it for visit and operation study. Meanwhile, the officers and men on the USS George Washington CVN-73 will also visit the aircraft carrier "Liaoning".

  According to Zhang Junshe, mutual visit between the Chinese and U.S. aircraft carriers will be a milestone in the bilateral and military-to-military relations. Once the mutual visit is successfully carried out, it will be of landmark significance for the relations between the two militaries and the two navies.

  But he also added that high-level promotion is needed to realize such mutual visit, and the U.S. law expressly bans in-depth exchange with China.

Editor :  Yao Jianing