China said on Thursday it was ready to work with the United States to advance military-to-military links in a healthy and stable way so as to safeguard peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region.
Defense Ministry spokesman Geng Yansheng told a monthly press conference in Beijing that China always placed importance on expanding military-to-military links with the United States and termed their relationship as one of the most important bilateral ties in the world, Chinese official media reported.
The two militaries have carried out "sound cooperation" in multiple areas in recent years, although their ties still face "certain difficulties and obstacles."
"We are ready to work with the U.S. by observing the principles of mutual respect, trust, equality and mutual benefit, to respect and take care of each other's core interests and major concerns, properly handle differences and controversial issues, cultivate strategic mutual trust and push forward China-U.S. military links in a healthy and stable way," Geng was quoted by the Global Times newspaper as saying.
During Vice-President Xi Jinping's official visit to the United States last week, he exchanged views with U.S. leaders and military officials on bilateral and military-to-military ties, he said and added "the visit was of great significance to guiding the development of relations between the two countries and the two militaries."
Referring to military drills the U.S. planned to conduct with some of China's neighboring countries, the spokesman said China believed that peace and stability of the Asia-Pacific region was in the common interest of countries in the region. A major annual drill by the United States and South Korea codenamed "Key Resolve" is currently on in the region.
Geng said all relevant sides should take peace and stability of the Korean peninsula into consideration. Maintaining peace and stability on the peninsula was in the common interest of all sides, and China would make unremitting efforts to that end, he said.
Another exercise dubbed "Cobra Gold" was recently wrapped up in east Thailand. The ten-day multinational military exercise was led by the U.S. with at least five other Asian countries including Japan and South Korea participating in the drills.
Countries' defense cooperation should be conducive to regional peace and stability and not target a third party, Geng said.
Asked whether the frequent visits to the West Pacific by vessels of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) navy were meant to prepare for an attack on Taiwan, Geng said the drills were "routine arrangements. As we have repeatedly stated, the drills were not directed at any specific target."
by RTT Staff Writer
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