BEIJING, Jan. 21 (ChinaMil) -- Adm. Wu Shengli, member of China’s Central Military Commission (CMC) and commander of the Navy of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA), made video telephone talks with Chief of Naval Operations of the U.S. Adm. John M. Richardson on the morning of Jan. 20, 2016.
The two sides exchanged views on issues including pragmatic cooperation between the navies of China and the U.S. as well as China’s construction activities on its islands and reefs in the South China Sea.
Wu Shengli pointed out that since 2015, under the backgrounds that both China and the U.S. are proactive in building the new model of major-country relations and new type of military relations, the navies of the two countries have carried out increasingly frequent exchange of visits and constantly deepened pragmatic cooperation.
He suggested the Chinese and U.S. navies maintain high-level exchange of visits, push forward building of a mechanism of mutual visits by naval officers at fleet level, make good preparations for the “Rim of the Pacific 2016” exercise (RIMPAC), carry out interactive cooperation between the hospital ships of the two navies such as organizing joint humanitarian medical service activities.
Wu urged the two navies to further implement the code of safe conduct on naval and air force encounters to avoid the occurrence of misunderstanding, misjudgment and dangerous approaching.
China has recently carried out successful verification test flight at the newly built aerodrome on the Yongshu Reef of its Nansha Islands in the South China Sea, which aimed to verify if the aerodrome facilities can comply with the civil aviation standard, Wu said, adding that the aerodrome can allow China to better implement its international responsibilities and obligations and provide more international public services.
Wu stressed that China’s construction of necessary defense facilities on its Nansha islands and reefs in the South China Sea is not what some countries and media have maliciously hyped up that China hopes to militarize these islands and reefs. The key to judge if the islands and reefs are militarized or not is to understand the facilities’ construction purpose, Wu explained.
China will never seek to militarize these islands and reefs, nor will it give up setting up defenses, and the number of the defense facilities depends on the threatening degree China is facing with, Adm. Wu continued. He stressed that the Chinese Navy has the determination and ability to safeguard China’s sovereignty and security over its Nansha islands and reefs in the South China Sea.
The U.S. and Chinese navies carried out in-depth and pragmatic friendly exchange activities in 2015, during which the most fruitful results had been achieved in the development of the bilateral relations between the two navies, Adm. Richardson commented. He hoped that the two sides could maintain the good momentum, further strengthen the pragmatic exchange and cooperation and push forward the in-depth development of the friendly relations between the navies of the two countries.
The U.S. Navy will continue its free navigation and flight in the South China Sea and other places in the world under the premise of complying with the international laws, Richardson added.