Top Chinese general says military measures cannot be option for Korean peninsula, criticises 'wrong' US moves on Taiwan, South China Sea

Chairman of US Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) Joseph Dunford (left) meets China's Central Military Commission Vice Chairman Fan Changlong at the Bayi Building in Beijing, on Aug 17, 2017.
Chairman of US Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) Joseph Dunford (left) meets China's Central Military Commission Vice Chairman Fan Changlong at the Bayi Building in Beijing, on Aug 17, 2017. PHOTO: EPA

BEIJING (REUTERS) - Top Chinese general Fan Changlong said on Thursday (Aug 17) that military measures must not become an option on the Korean peninsula.

Speaking during a meeting in Beijing with Joseph Dunford, Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, the vice-chairman of China's powerful Central Military Commission (CMC) said dialogue was the only effective way to resolve tensions, according to a statement from China's Defence Ministry. 

Fan also told Dunford that mutual trust mechanisms between the two militaries had continued to improve, the defence ministry said.

“But wrong actions on the Taiwan issue, the United States deploying the THAAD system around China, US ships and aircraft’s activities in the South China Sea, the United States close-in surveillance in the sea and air near China have had a large, negative influence on bilateral military ties and mutual trust,” Fan added.

THAAD is the Terminal High Altitude Area Defence anti-missile system the United States has deployed in South Korea to defend against North Korea.

China says the system affects its own security because of its powerful radar, and will do nothing to ease tension with North Korea.

Fan said China was willing to work with the United States to find more potential for cooperation, handle disputes and sensitive issues appropriately and ensure military cooperation becomes a positive force in relations.

 

China and the United States, the world’s two largest economies, say they are committed to having a stable military-to-military relationship, but there are deep fault lines.

China has been angered by US freedom of navigation patrols near Chinese-controlled islands in the disputed South China Sea and continued US arms sales and support for self-ruled Taiwan, which China claims as a wayward province.

The United States has expressed concern about what it calls unsafe intercepts of US aircraft by the Chinese air force and a lack of transparency in military spending by China, which is in the midst of an ambitious military modernisation programme.

Speaking later to reporters, Dunford said the main deliverable for his trip was the signing of a framework agreement for a joint staff dialogue mechanism.  

Dunford said China and the US already have capability to do secure video teleconferences between Dunford and Fang Fenghui, chief of the Joint Staff Department of the People’s Liberation Army.

The US embassy also has immediate access to China’s General Staff, he added.

“We have ways of communicating. What we’re looking for is a more responsive 24 hours a day, seven days a week communications link that can actually be used in a crisis. And that’s really one of the issues that we will work on.”