Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

Gates to China: Grow up, little comrades

Interesting comment on US-China relations from Defense Secretary Gates in Singapore over the weekend: Last fall, President Obama and President Hu made a commitment to advance sustained and reliable military-to-military relations between the United States and the People’s Republic of China.  The key words here are "sustained" and "reliable" — not a relationship repeatedly interrupted ...

zidane_0120 / http://www.flickr.com/photos/sedna16/3304093330/sizes/o/
zidane_0120 / http://www.flickr.com/photos/sedna16/3304093330/sizes/o/
zidane_0120 / http://www.flickr.com/photos/sedna16/3304093330/sizes/o/

Interesting comment on US-China relations from Defense Secretary Gates in Singapore over the weekend:

Last fall, President Obama and President Hu made a commitment to advance sustained and reliable military-to-military relations between the United States and the People's Republic of China.  The key words here are "sustained" and "reliable" -- not a relationship repeatedly interrupted by and subject to the vagaries of political weather.

Regrettably, we have not been able to make progress on this relationship in recent months.  Chinese officials have broken off interactions between our militaries, citing U.S. arms sales to Taiwan as the rationale.  For a variety of reasons, this makes little sense:

Interesting comment on US-China relations from Defense Secretary Gates in Singapore over the weekend:

Last fall, President Obama and President Hu made a commitment to advance sustained and reliable military-to-military relations between the United States and the People’s Republic of China.  The key words here are "sustained" and "reliable" — not a relationship repeatedly interrupted by and subject to the vagaries of political weather.

Regrettably, we have not been able to make progress on this relationship in recent months.  Chinese officials have broken off interactions between our militaries, citing U.S. arms sales to Taiwan as the rationale.  For a variety of reasons, this makes little sense:

  • First, U.S. arms sales to Taiwan are nothing new.  They have been a reality for decades and spanned multiple American administrations.
  • Second, the United States has for years demonstrated in a very public way that we do not support independence for Taiwan.  Nothing – I repeat, nothing – has changed in that stance.
  • Finally, because China’s accelerating military buildup is largely focused on Taiwan, U.S. arms sales are an important component of maintaining peace and stability in cross-strait relations and throughout the region."

Zakaria has more on Beijing’s new arrogance.

(HT to AD)

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

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