He later addressed the issue of Taiwan, asking the U.S. to follow the one-China policy and be careful not to encourage independence.
Defense secretary Carter said that he agreed with the idea of building a new kind of military-to-relationship. Carter claimed that officials are excited by the prospect of Xi’s visit in September, and predicts that a sustainable relationship can be forged between the armed forces of the two nations.
Areas of mutual concern on the agenda
During the visit, the two officials discussed military cooperation, Taiwan, Japan and the Korean Peninsula. On Friday the China-US Army-to-Army Dialogue Mechanism will be signed at the National Defense University. The event is expected to be attended by Fan and US Army Chief of Staff Raymond Odierno,
According to the Pentagon, the Mechanism will provide another way in which leaders can “raise and discuss issues of mutual concern such as humanitarian assistance and disaster response practices.”
Further talks between the general and senior U.S. officials are expected to take place this Friday at the White House and the State Department.
The South China Sea has become an area of increasing tension as China seeks to challenge U.S. primacy in the region. Commentators are unsure as to how long Beijing will continue to call Washington’s bluff over the construction of military bases in disputed territories, and some are worried about a possible escalation in the area.
The continuation of high-level cooperation and the implementation of new mechanisms should go some way to reducing these tensions, but so far U.S. officials are struggling to exert any influence over Chinese policy in the South China Sea. A recent flyover by a U.S. military surveillance plane was met by an aggressive warning to leave the area from local Chinese navy units, which have become increasingly emboldened as construction progresses.
Signing agreements and promising future cooperation may appear to signify that progress is being made, but it seems unlikely that the situation on the ground will change drastically.