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(Opinion) US-China Military Relations: The Great Debate

2014-12-19 09:01:04       source:The Diplomat

By Shannon Tiezzi

December 19, 2014

'I've written before that U.S.- China military relations have improved markedly in the past two years, even as the overall relationship has suffered ups and downs. Not everyone is convinced this is a good thing, however. There's a growing chorus of voices criticizing the U.S.- China military relationship, whether over security or broader strategic concerns.

One such voice of caution comes from Congressman J. Randy Forbes (R-VA), the leader of the House Armed Services Committee's Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee. In an open letter to U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, Rep. Forbes expressed a "growing concern with the overall trajectory to the military-to-military relationship" between the U.S. and China. Though Forbes noted that he believes "a sustained and substantive relationship with the PRC is one of the core objectives of U.S. policy" in the Asia-Pacific region, he questioned the utility of the current approach to mil-to-mil relations. "There is no indication that more engagement has helped to shape Beijing's actions in a positive direction consistent with U.S. objectives," Forbes argued. "To the contrary, as we have increased our mil-to-mil engagement over the past two years, China's actions have only turned more coercive."'

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