U.S.-China communication a positive sign amid tension

The New York Times
November 3, 2015

100215-N-8421M-185 SOUTH CHINA SEA (Feb. 15, 2010) The aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68), the guided-missile cruiser USS Chosin (CG 65), the guided-missile destroyers USS Sampson (DDG 102) and USS Pinkney (DDG 91), and the guided-missile frigate USS Rentz (FFG 46) operate in formation in the South China Sea. The Nimitz Carrier Strike Group is conducting operations in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class David Mercil/Released)Although tensions have flared in recent weeks over American freedom of navigation operations in the South China Sea, one key point to take away is that the two countries continue to communicate, according to Dr. Jeffrey Hornung, a fellow with the Sasakawa Peace Foundation USA.

According to an article by Jane Perlez in the Nov. 3 edition of the New York Times, Adm. Harry B. Harris Jr., the head of the US Pacific Command, “said the Navy would continue to conduct freedom of navigation operations similar to one in the South China Sea last week that China criticized.”

The report states Harris arrived in China Monday “for a long-planned visit that is part of regular exchanges between senior American and Chinese military officials.”

Hornung, who has spent several years studying the maritime policies and actions of players in the Asia Pacific region, said this regular exchange between officials is a positive sign.

“China and the US are still communicating,” Hornung said. “This is important to highlight because some of the noise in the analysis and commentary tends to paint a picture of our countries heading toward some sort of low-level conflict. Neither country wants that, and the fact they maintain communication is important, particularly between our militaries.”


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