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U.S., Chinese Leaders Meet, Continue Rapprochement

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

SINGAPORE, May 31, 2014 – Reaching out to new countries is part and parcel of President Barack Obama’s new foreign policy approach and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel reinforced that push, meeting today with the Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the People's Liberation Army Lt. Gen. Wang Guanzhong.

The meeting took place on the sidelines of the annual Shangri-La Dialogue, a major annual forum for key leaders in the Asia-Pacific region to discuss security challenges and opportunities, said Pentagon officials.

Senior Pentagon officials said the meeting was cordial and constructive. Hagel reiterated the U.S. position that all regional disputes be solved peacefully, through diplomacy and in keeping with international law.

The secretary urged the Chinese leader to foster dialogue and deepen military-to-military relations between the two nations. Hagel pointed to Chinese participation in the Rim of the Pacific exercise as an example of how such relationships can be improved.

RIMPAC, as it is known, is the preeminent naval exercise in the Asia-Pacific region. The U.S. Pacific Command oversees the exercise every two years. It is a laboratory of multinational cooperation in the region.

“The U.S. military and Pacific Command are contributors to multilateralism in the region,” said Navy Adm. Samuel J. Locklear, the commander of U.S. Pacific Command, during an interview. “The truth of the matter is that the world is different than it was 50 years ago. We are so interconnected – cyberspace, space, economically – every country out here is connected to each other.”

This perspective engenders multilateral thinking. “It’s not just about what’s inside the borders of my country that influences your future security or prosperity,” the admiral said.

The United States encourages a collective approach to modern threats, not only because it is a successful guarantor of regional security, but because it is a benign force. This allows “dialogues to occur and allow countries to come together in a way that allows them to put aside their historic differences,” Locklear said.

RIMPAC 2014 involves 23 nations, including Chinese participation for the first time. U.S. officials have said the fact that China is participating is an encouraging sign. It offers a chance to work with the Chinese military despite the disputes the nation has with neighboring countries in the East China Sea and South China Sea.

“This was a big step for the Chinese to commit to this, particularly in an exercise commanded by a U.S. commander,” Locklear said. “There is some indication that China is willing to be a positive, productive participant.

“We just have to get past these issues that are historical in nature that are causing the region problems,” he continued. “And if we keep working at it we’ll get through them.”

Reaching out to new countries is part and parcel of President Barack Obama’s new foreign policy approach and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel reinforced that push, meeting today with the Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the People's Liberation Army Lt. Gen. Wang Guanzhong.

The meeting took place on the sidelines of the annual Shangri-La Dialogue, a major annual forum for key leaders in the Asia-Pacific region to discuss security challenges and opportunities, said Pentagon officials.

Senior Pentagon officials said the meeting was cordial and constructive. Hagel reiterated the U.S. position that all regional disputes be solved peacefully, through diplomacy and in keeping with international law.

The secretary urged the Chinese leader to foster dialogue and deepen military-to-military relations between the two nations. Hagel pointed to Chinese participation in the Rim of the Pacific exercise as an example of how such relationships can be improved.

RIMPAC, as it is known, is the preeminent naval exercise in the Asia-Pacific region. The U.S. Pacific Command oversees the exercise every two years. It is a laboratory of multinational cooperation in the region.

“The U.S. military and Pacific Command are contributors to multilateralism in the region,” said Navy Adm. Samuel J. Locklear, the commander of U.S. Pacific Command, during an interview. “The truth of the matter is that the world is different than it was 50 years ago. We are so interconnected – cyberspace, space, economically – every country out here is connected to each other.”

This perspective engenders multilateral thinking. “It’s not just about what’s inside the borders of my country that influences your future security or prosperity,” the admiral said.

The United States encourages a collective approach to modern threats, not only because it is a successful guarantor of regional security, but because it is a benign force. This allows “dialogues to occur and allow countries to come together in a way that allows them to put aside their historic differences,” Locklear said.

 (Follow Jim Garamone on Twitter: @GaramoneAFPS)

Contact Author

Biographies:
Chuck Hagel
Navy Adm. Samuel J. Locklear III

Related Sites:
Special Report: Travels with Chuck Hagel
Special Report: U.S. Pacific Command
U.S. Pacific Command



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