by Wang Fengfeng
WASHINGTON, Aug. 19 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Defense Minister Chang Wanquan on Monday visited the Pentagon, and agreed with his U.S. counterpart, Chuck Hagel, on a number of steps to boost bilateral military ties.
The trip, which Hagel hailed as "very productive," is a first step toward the new type of military relationship that matches Presidents Xi Jinping and Barack Obama's vision of a new type of major-country relations.
The envisaged China-U.S. relationship, as Xi has said, should be characterized by no conflict, no confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation.
To actualize the prospect requires sincere and concrete efforts from both sides. As Chang proposed, the two militaries need to understand that the relationship should not be dominated by either side alone, and that they should boost openness and inclusiveness and replace mutual suspicion with mutual trust.
In Hagel's words, the two sides need to develop "avenues of opportunity for transparency, for understanding each other's intentions far better than we have in the past."
The agreements reached by Chang and Hagel were indicative of progress. Among others, the two sides agreed to carry out more high-level visits and more joint exercises and training programs, including China's participation in the Rim of the Pacific Exercise (RIMPAC) in 2014.
However, the journey toward a new type of China-U.S. military relations is not going to be easy. For starters, the United States' rebalance to the Asia-Pacific, especially the military dimension of the strategy, is complicating the regional situation.
As the Chinese defense minister pointed out, for any country to make a strategic readjustment, it is imperative that it take regional peace and stability into account.
Given that the Asia-Pacific is where the interests of China and the United States intertwine the most, it will benefit both of them if they can cement mutual trust and tap further into the potential for cooperation in the region.
Now that the two sides have had a good start, they need to keep the positive momentum and forge ahead in the right direction, so as to make more contribution to regional peace, stability and prosperity.