Beijing, Aug 16 (IANS) Top Chinese and US military officials have agreed to boost military ties and exchanges amid growing tension between the two countries over North Korea.
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the US Army Joseph Dunford met his Chinese counterpart Fang Fenghui on Tuesday and signed the framework for an agreement to build a new communication mechanism for their joint staff departments, the China Daily reported on Wednesday.
Experts said the new mechanism would help strengthen effective communication, reduce miscalculations and improve risk management in Asia’s increasingly complex geopolitical climate, according to the report.
The officials also discussed China’s maritime disputes in the South China Sea with neighbouring countries, including Taiwan, and growing tension on the Korean peninsula over North Korea’s repeated nuclear and missile tests.
During the meeting, Fang stressed cooperation was the right way forward for China and the US, who, he added, could be great military partners.
The Chinese military is willing to work with its US counterpart to strengthen mutual understanding and trust, deepen cooperation and manage risks and differences in an appropriate and effective manner, Fang said.
Dunford said the US military will continue to develop Sino-US military relations and added both sides should take every opportunity to deepen communication and tackle current issues in a constructive way.
“Although we might not share the same perspective on many of the difficult issues,” Dunford said, “we do share the same commitment to solve them.”
Dunford, who will also visit a Chinese military base and attend a military exercise of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) on Wednesday, is the highest-ranking military official to visit China since US President Donald Trump came to power, the newspaper said.
The visit is a part of his Asia tour, which started earlier this week in South Korea and will conclude in Japan, and follows fears of a military conflict between North Korea and the US after a verbal spat between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un earlier in the week.
It also comes ahead of joint military exercises by the US and South Korea next week, which is likely to further aggravate tensions on the Korean peninsula.
Meanwhile, Beijing, a traditional ally of Pyongyang, had voted in favour of the latest round of US-led sanctions against North Korea in the UN Security Council and banned all imports from North Korea, starting Tuesday.
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