Mar 25, 2013 05:50 PM

Kissinger Urges Enhanced Sino-U.S. Military Ties


(Beijing) – Former U.S. secretary of state Henry Kissinger said Beijing and Washington should improve communications between their militaries when he spoke at the China Development Forum over the weekend.

While China is gaining more influence internationally both in terms of economic and military power, there was bound to be friction with other countries, including the United States, he said. But it was unwise for the two countries to engage in an arms race.

Relations between the United States and China have mainly focused on mutually beneficial economic activities, Kissinger said. To avoid conflicts that might be triggered by misconception of the other side's military plans, he said, both countries should strengthen communication by, for example, arranging for exchange trips between military school students.

The resulting level of trust between the two countries' militaries would enable the countries to concentrate on developing healthy economic and political relations, while contributing to keeping down other countries' arms spending, he said.

The remarks come as the U.S. government and many of China's neighbors are increasingly concerned at how China's new president and military chief, Xi Jinping, might work to strengthen the nation's military power, especially amid of disputes with countries including Japan and Philippine over territorial claims in the Pacific.

Kissinger also noted that, at the policymaking level, both American and Chinese leaders value their strong relationship. But there have been obstacles to implementing certain policies for various reasons. When conflicts arise, it is important that both countries take into account the big picture and concentrate on long-term goals instead of dwelling on differences over technical details, he said.

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