Mullen Urges China to Become Global Security Partner
By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, July 10, 2011 Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, urged China during a speech in Beijing today to use its strength and influence to become a global partner in addressing security challenges in the region and beyond.
U.S. Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, receives a tour by Chinese Gen. Chen Bingde, chief of the Peoples Liberation Army's General Staff, in Beijing, July 10, 2011. Mullen is on a three-day trip to the country to meet with counterparts and Chinese leaders. DOD photo by U.S. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Chad J. McNeeley
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Speaking to students at Beijing’s Renmin University, Mullen recognized China’s economic, technological and military growth during the past three decades, and urged its leaders to use this power as a force for global good.
“We look forward to China assuming more responsibilities for global problem solving, commensurate with its growing capabilities,” he said in his prepared remarks.
Mullen recognized China’s ability to deal with security challenges that impact both China and the United States. “Many of our security issues have a common dimension, centered in places where China can exert a great deal of constructive influence, and where our interests are aligned,” he said.
The chairman cited challenges on the Korean Peninsula, where tensions have mounted in light of recent North Korean provocations on South Korea and its refusal to abandon its nuclear weapons program.
China also can help ensure the safety of shipping lanes in Southeast Asia, he said, and ensure access and equitable use of the global commons for all nations, rather than a select few.
Mullen noted China’s increasing reach beyond Asia and the Pacific, and its ability to address Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons, promote security in South and Central Asia and confront other emerging challenges.
“Both of our nations recognize the emerging challenges of nuclear proliferation, terrorism, growing global energy demands and the geopolitical implications and stresses of climate change,” he said. “Therefore, our exchange must not be limited to the Asia-Pacific, but should range farther and wider, as befits our shared interests and China’s increasing ability to contribute positively beyond your shores.”
As China becomes more of a global player in addressing these and other global challenges, Mullen emphasized the United States’ interest in strengthening the two countries’ partnership, including their military relationship.
“The United States wants a positive, cooperative and comprehensive relationship with China, one that comes to be defined by our common challenges and our shared interests in Asia and globally,” he said. “Global cooperation advances China’s interests, and it advances U.S. interests.”
While in China, Mullen hopes to explore ways to expand the military relationship, building on talks during People’s Liberation Army Chief of the General Staff Chen Bingde visit to Washington in May, according to Navy Capt. John Kirby, Mullen’s spokesman.
Those discussions laid groundwork for upcoming military engagements that Mullen said will lead to relationship-building between the two militaries and ultimately enable them to operate together in exercises and joint activities.
Mullen emphasized the United States’ historical ties to Asia and the Pacific and its enduring commitment to the region.
“Now, more than ever, the United States is a Pacific nation, and it is clear that our security interests and economic wellbeing are tied to Asia’s,” he said.
“President Barack Obama has said, ‘the relationship between the United States and China will shape the 21stcentury, which makes it as important as any bilateral relationship in the world,’ and I could not agree more.”