U.S. warship visit 'eases tensions'

Source: Global TimesEditor: Zhang Tao
2016-08-10 17:41

Both navies should maintain stable ties to avoid conflicts

Chinese experts said the first visit on Monday by a U.S. warship to China since the arbitration court ruled on the South China Sea issue is a sign of easing Sino-U.S. relations.

The missile destroyer USS Benfold held signals exercises with the Chinese Navy after arriving in a port in Qingdao, East China's Shandong Province, and the Chinese side held a reception on the ship, according to the Associated Press.

"This port visit is a tremendous opportunity to build relationships between sailors based on shared interests and perspectives," Benfold commander Justin Harts said in a statement released on the U.S. Navy's official website Sunday.

The visit, which comes on the heels of China's participation in the Rim of the Pacific 2016 maritime exercises, is a sign the two countries are willing to control disparities and actively push the relationship between navies forward, Zhang Junshe, a researcher at the People's Liberation Army's (PLA) Naval Military Studies Research Institute, told the Global Times on Monday.

The AP report said Harts refused to comment on the disputes in the South China Sea.

Having military exchanges with China also benefits the U.S., that's why it continues conducting such activities despite calls in the U.S. to punish China for its rejection of the South China Sea ruling, Wu Xinbo, director of the Center for American Studies at Fudan University, told the Global Times on Monday.

China rejected last month's ruling on the South China Sea by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague and refused to take part in the arbitration. It has strongly criticized U.S. involvement in the case.

Wu said that China develops its military to safeguard its sovereignty and interests, while the U.S. wants to contain China with help from its allies, but the two sides need to maintain relatively stable relations to avoid accidental military conflicts.

Liu Feng, an expert on Chinese maritime issues, told the Global Times both China and the U.S. have strengths on the South China Sea issue - China is geographically closer to the region and enjoys greater economic influence, while the U.S. has a political, military and diplomatic edge.

Chinese and American troops and officials will visit the Benfold, conduct professional exchanges and participate in sports activities, an insider told the Global Times on Tuesday, adding that the two sides will hold joint exercises, including maritime search and rescue drills.

 

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