“We are committed to building a better, deeper, more enduring relationship,” he said at a joint news conference Monday in Beijing.
Dempsey visited Beijing in the context of a troubling nuclear North Korea and an increasingly nervous China. Aside from nukes, America's (loudly proclaimed) pacific pivot and Mandiant's report on Chinese espionage are among two other things looming above Washington-Beijing relations.
“The Pacific Ocean is wide enough to accommodate us both,” said Fang Fenghui, the chief of the People’s Liberation Army general staff . “We should be cooperating partners regardless of the circumstances.”
In the backdrop of this visit is China's recent release of its bi-yearly white paper which directly referenced the U.S. in the opening remarks.
"The US is adjusting its Asia-Pacific security strategy, and the regional landscape is undergoing profound changes," the paper says.
Then, oddly enough, the following line pops up a few graphs down, "Some country has strengthened its Asia-Pacific military alliances, expanded its military presence in the region, and frequently makes the situation there tenser."
So Dempsey's comments spoke directly to those concerns.
“We seek to be a stabilizing influence in the region,” Dempsey said at a joint news conference with Fang.
But he made sure that his kindness was not taken without awareness of China's growing military might — cyber security was certainly top on the agenda.
“Cybersecurity, if it is uncontrolled, the effects can be, and I don’t exaggerate, at times no less than a nuclear bomb,” Fang said.
Dempsey wrapped up his comments by reaffirming Washington's strength with regard to North Korea, and resolve in the face of bitter island disputes China has recently had with Japan.
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