Top Pacific admiral invites China to watch war games
SHENYANG, China » A top American admiral said yesterday he invited Chinese commanders to observe a U.S. military exercise in an effort to build ties, but he said the process will not succeed without similar gestures by Beijing.
Adm. William Fallon, commander of U.S. Pacific forces, said that during a week-long visit he urged Chinese military leaders to help open direct communications and build confidence between the two militaries, which have only sporadic contacts.
Fallon said Chinese officials expressed interest in closer ties but did not immediately respond to the invitation to attend next month's exercises in Guam. He also said they expressed dismay at a Pentagon report calling Beijing a potential military threat.
"We are moving forward. It is obvious we have the consensus and endorsement of senior leadership on both sides," Fallon said at the end of a four-day tour that included meetings with China's defense and foreign ministers and visits to several military bases.
Fallon said he invited Chinese officers to watch the Guam exercises from aboard a U.S. warship on June 17-19 and told his hosts that American officials would like to receive similar invitations.
Military ties between the United States and China have never been close, and they worsened after the 2001 collision of a U.S. Navy plane and a Chinese fighter jet off China's southern coast.