A senior Chinese official has censured the United States for a series of “wrong” activities vis-à-vis China, particularly in the Western Pacific region, saying Sino-American ties have been adversely affected as a result of those actions.
China’s Vice Chairman of the Central Military Commission Fan Changlong made the remarks in a meeting with US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Marine Corps General Joe Dunford in the capital, Beijing, on Thursday.
Fan expressed concern about the “negative” impacts of the presence of US military aircraft in the South China Sea and its reconnaissance activities near China.
“Wrong actions on the Taiwan issue, the United States deploying the THAAD system around China, US ships and aircraft’s activities in the South China Sea, the United States close-in surveillance in the sea and air near China have had a large, negative influence on bilateral military ties and mutual trust,” Fan said.
The Chinese official reiterated Beijing’s call for all parties to exercise restraint and avoid any action or rhetoric that could escalate the situation on the Korean Peninsula, also noting that dialog was the only effective way to resolve tensions.
Fan also said that Beijing was willing to work with Washington for handling disputes and to ensure that military cooperation will become a positive force in Sino-American relations.
Dunford visited China on Monday as part of an Asian tour and is expected to travel to Japan afterwards.
The two top officials had signed an agreement a day earlier to improve communication between their countries’ militaries and reduce the chances of “miscalculations” and accidental military confrontations at a time when “the region and the world are facing the dangers of a nuclear-armed North Korea.”
Issues involving North Korea are among the many points of contention between China and the US. While the two countries share concerns about the North Korean missile and military nuclear programs, they sometimes differ on how to tackle the matter.
Chinese claims of sovereignty in territories in the South and East China Seas, the US military ties with Taiwan, and the deployment of the American THAAD missile system in South Korea are some of the other issues on which Beijing and Washington spar from time to time.