US and China Work to Reduce Military and Economic Tensions

More than two decades on from the end of the Cold War, the battleground is now no longer an ideological one but an economic one. And the world’s two economic powerhouses – the US and China – are now more likely to be competing over consumers than tanks.

However, tensions still remain between the two nations and while the threat of military conflict is less likely, the issue of cyber security and the spread of online communications has the potential to become another source of conflict between the two.

The will is there on both sides to move forward and to improve communications between the nations to prevent the sort of misunderstandings that can lead to trade wars and currency manipulation. That was evident at a recent event organised by the National Committee on US-China relations in New York.

Present were military commanders on both sides, including Admiral Samuel Locklear, the Commander of the US Pacific Command. He said competition between the two nations was normal and that the areas where China and the US agree are growing while those where they disagree are decreasing. However, Admiral Locklear said sustained bilateral cooperation was essential to increase trust and understanding between the two armed forces.

The two nations are working together to improve cyber security, seen as a shared challenge not just for the US and China but for the entire world. Admiral Locklear also called on China to increase its participation in military-to-military relations around the world, suggesting this can lead to a culture of openness and increased understanding and would then limit the potential for conflict.

In that vein, China will send ships from its navy to take part in a US-led joint exercise in the Pacific in the summer of 2014. The Rim of the Pacific Exercise (RIMPAC) is a biennial event and the world’s largest international maritime exercise, which aims to build co-operation between the Pacific nations. The last RIMPAC, in 2012, involved more than 22 nations.

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