Even as defense Secretary Robert M. Gates met his Chinese counterpart, Liang Guanglie, in Vietnam, America remains highly tensed about the recent attitude shown by the Chinese government. This visit to Vietnam was an effort to restart the talks suspended late last year.
A few days earlier, Lt. Cmdr. Tony Cao of the Chinese Navy was conducting China’s first war games with the Australian Navy and refused to invite the Americans to the games until they stop selling weapons to Taiwan and spying on China.
Pentagon worries that the strained relations with China is also partly a result of the anti America ideology that Cao and his generation of leaders have grown up with. Adding to America’s problems is the fact that the Chinese military forces have grown rapidly and are adding more and more weapons. The Chinese military have been staging excursions to New Zealand, Britain and Spain of lately. Its military’s increasing strength has lent China the confidence to challenge the American dominance in the Pacific. Increasingly, innocent American actions such as the hosting of Dalai Lama’s visit and approval of arms sales to Taiwan are being viewed with paranoia and deep suspicion.
In spite of harsh language from the Chinese officials, official military ties with America will resume soon with President Hu Jitao’s visit to Washington. This is viewed as an attempt at international diplomacy.
Experts feel that the suspicion of America is not a new issue with the Chinese; it’s just that they are more open about it now. This might be a result of its military inexperience. America is hoping that greater experience will lead to more joint exercises and ultimately improve the image America has amongst the emerging young leaders of China. The experts feel that the time is ripe for both countries to reconsider their military strategies in an effort to improve relations.