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Report on the growing US military presence in the Asia-Pacific region

China Daily | Updated: 2016-11-25 07:45

IV US South China Sea interests and policy

The first and most fundamental interest of the US in the South China Sea is to maintain freedom of navigation for its naval vessels.

From the US' perspective, China's large-scale construction activities in the South China Sea confirmed its suspicion that China intended to implement an Anti-Access/Area Denial (A2/AD) strategy, a predetermined premise for the Obama administration to propose and push forward the strategy of rebalancing to the Asia-Pacific. The US has made the South China Sea an important vehicle for it to implement its rebalancing to the Asia-Pacific.

V China-US military exchanges and cooperation

China is devoted to building a new type of major-country relationship with the US that features the principles of "non-conflict, non-confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation". These are also the principles that provide the foundation for its efforts to promote military-to-military relations.

Although frictions and trials of strength between the two militaries in the South and East China seas are on the rise, this does not disrupt their high-level dialogue mechanisms and important exchange programs. Rather, the two militaries have become more open and flexible in their exchanges and cooperation on navigational safety issues as evidenced by 2014's Memorandum of Understanding on the Rules of Behavior for the Safety of Air and Maritime Encounters and the Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea, the mutual visits of naval vessels, exchanges between military academies, their joint exercises and their dialogue on cyber security.

Given their differences in history, culture, traditions, social system, ideology and level of economic development, it is inevitable that China and the US will have differences and even frictions over some issues. But both China and the US are permanent members of the UN Security Council with extremely important responsibilities for maintaining peace and promoting development in the Asia-Pacific and the world at large. Both countries want to see a peaceful, stable and prosperous Asia-Pacific and the global commons-outer space, cyberspace and the high seas, including the East and South China seas. Therefore, the two countries need to always keep the whole picture in mind, stick to the overall objective of building a new type of major-country relationship, and recognize that their shared interests far outweigh their differences. The two also need to reduce frictions and manage any crises in a timely way, and stay committed to increasing understanding and building more consensus through dialogue and consultation in a constructive way.

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