In a meeting on Tuesday, U.S. National Security Adviser Susan Rice raised concerns on the Chinese fighter intercepts, stressing these intercepts could prove to be extremely dangerous and must be taken care of immediately.
Overall, the meeting in Beijing was focused on laying the groundwork for President Obama’s upcoming trip to China in November. Obama is set to visit the leaders’ summit of Asian-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum and also meet the President of China, Xi Jinping.
Rice took the opportunity to address concerns about a probable collision between U.S. surveillance jets and Chinese fighters. Over the past two weeks, the U.S. had already asked China to take this issue into account before an accident causes a problem in their political relationship.
Hainan Island is the base for Chinese submarines and naval airfields. Washington reported on August 19, a U.S. plane and a Chinese fighter jet passed by closely over the island, detailing how the Chinese pilot exhibited reckless behavior. The Chinese government refuses to accept any recklessness on their pilot’s part. China believes the surveillance over their coast can be a possible threat to their security. Therefore, they will consistently respond to the U.S. flights to ensure their security.
Rice pointed out to the top general of China that the two countries already face challenges where their relationship is concerned and, therefore, must avoid further complications. So the two countries decided to try to resolve the issue confidentially. U.S. officials say the Chinese appear to be taking our concerns very seriously, but we have no other details on China's part.
The U.S. concerns are justified. A collision occurred between a Chinese fighter jet and a U.S. surveillance plane in 2001 near Hainan. Consequently, the Chinese pilot died while the U.S. jet landed on Hainan where the crew faced interrogation. Needless to say, this has negatively affected the relationship between China and America.
Rice covered a wide range of topics in her discussion, including economic ties between the two nations and the democracy in Hong Kong. Xi pointed out the gravity of the challenges faced by the two nations and emphasized we must work together to overcome these challenges. He wants the two sides to speed up negotiating a bilateral investment treaty, securing military ties, building communication and coordination on climate change, and fighting against terrorism.
We have maintained a relatively friendly relationship with China, despite rising tensions. For the first time this year, the Chinese naval force participated in the annual multinational drills that the U.S. hosted in Hawaii.
Maintaining productive ties with the world's second largest economy and second most powerful military is very important for the U.S. to convince skeptical Americans that Washington hasn't stopped pushing for America's interests. How do we ensure we are moving forward with China? Can the U.S. and China come together with the same goals in mind?
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Image Copyright: Reuters