U.S. Navy Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that Washington is committed to maintaining its military presence in Asia, and that the United States and China must work together to ensure regional security.
Admiral Mullen made the comment at the start of a recent four-day trip to China.
In a speech to university students in Beijing, Admiral Mullen said the regional and global challenges that the United States and China face together are too large and too vital to be hindered by any misunderstanding. He urged more openness from China's military. "With greater military power must come greater responsibility, greater cooperation, and just as important, greater transparency," he said.
To improve military to military relations, Admiral Mullen said that both the United States and China must work from a posture of mutual respect. "When we do come together to talk, it should be from an honest and deep appreciation of the others’ positions, challenges, aspirations and interests," he said.
Admiral Mullen added that both sides must recognize that local issues impacting Asia and the Pacific often have global implications. "Both of our nations recognize the emerging challenges of nuclear proliferation, terrorism, growing global energy demands and the geopolitical implications and stresses of climate change," he said. "Therefore, our exchange must not be limited to the Asia-Pacific, but should range farther and wider, as befits our shared interests and China’s increasing ability to contribute positively and beyond [its] shores."
Finally, Admiral Mullen urged the two nations to look to the future, not to the past. "Pursuing a positive, renewed military relationship between the U.S. and China will take a serious commitment, but ultimately, will provide benefit that extends far beyond both countries’ borders," Admiral Mullen concluded. "A well-ordered world and a prosperous Asia need both a strong and prosperous America, and a strong and prosperous China."