by Lu Yu
BEIJING, Aug. 24 (Xinhua) -- The Chinese and U.S. navies are set to conduct on Saturday their second counter-piracy exercise in the Gulf of Aden.
The joint drill marks yet another step forward in the two global heavyweights' efforts to promote military cooperation, cement mutual trust and boost their overall relations.
Military-to-military interaction is an important indicator of trust and ties between countries. Undeniably, however, it is not among the strong links in China-U.S. cooperation.
Particularly vulnerable to disturbances in bilateral relations, China-U.S. military ties have gone through numerous twists and turns over recent decades, mainly due to irresponsible measures on the part of Washington, such as its repeated arms sales to Taiwan.
Meanwhile, the Unites States has not made a convincing case that its rebalancing to the Asia-Pacific, especially the military dimension of the strategy, is not orchestrated to contain China.
Nonetheless, looking beyond bilateral differences and aiming at mutual and global interests, Presidents Xi Jinping and Barack Obama have pledged to forge a new type of major-country relations.
The commitment provides a fresh opportunity for the two countries to beef up military cooperation. The latest joint anti-piracy drill and China's agreement to participate in the 2014 Rim of the Pacific Exercise are signs of their willingness to seize the chance.
In addition, they need to maintain the good momentum, diversify communication and cooperation mechanisms, and thus ensure sustained cooperation between their armed forces.
As ancient Chinese philosopher Mencius said, a trail through the mountains, if used, becomes a path in a short time, but, if unused, becomes blocked by grass in an equally short time.
The path to closer China-U.S. military ties is bound to be bumpy. Chronic impediments like the Taiwan question will not disappear soon, and modern problems like cyber security have posed new challenges.
Yet the history of Beijing-Washington relations does not justify pessimism. It is in no measure a small accomplishment that they have managed to keep a generally upward trend in the development of bilateral relations.
Based on mutual respect and dedicated to win-win cooperation, the two major players on the world stage can open a new chapter in their military relations and further consolidate their overall ties.