The commanding general of U.S. Army Pacific spent several days in China during his visit to the region last week to meet with key People’s Liberation Army leaders, visit the U.S. Embassy in Beijing and observe a U.S.-Chinese military exchange.
Gen. Vincent K. Brooks gave a presentation to Chinese scholars and military officers at the National Defense University on Thursday, January 15. The presentation focused on the military-to-military relationship between the U.S. and China and on the U.S. rebalance to the Pacific. He met with university president Gen. Zhang Shibo and PLA Deputy Chief of the General Staff Department Admiral Sun Jianguo.
Brooks visited the U.S. Embassy in Beijing where he delivered a similar presentation to the Beijing Military Attaché Corps with attachés from numerous countries attending. Brooks also met with Mr. Daniel Kritenbrink, the Deputy Chief of Mission.
On Saturday, General Xu Fenlin, commanding general of the Guangzhou Military Region welcomed Brooks to Haikou on Hainan Island, China, where together they observed the 2015 Disaster Management Exchange, a long-running collaboration between USARPAC and the PLA in the area of Humanitarian Assistance/Disaster Relief.
The two leaders reaffirmed the importance of building a strong relationship between the two countries, both of which play leading roles in the security and stability of the Asia-Pacific region.
Although some may be surprised to find out that the U.S. and China conduct such exchanges, Brooks said, it is of utmost importance to continue taking these steps forward in our military-to-military exchanges.
“We know that there are still gaps in our relationship, and that we have work to do to strengthen the cooperation between our two countries, especially in the military-to-military arena,” Brooks said.
Brooks emphasized that the DME is among the most substantive of U.S. military engagement activities with China. His sentiments were echoed by Xu.
“I have every reason to believe that with practical exchanges and cooperation between Guangzhou Military Region and [U.S. Army Pacific] that we are able to join hands, to write a new chapter for the new model of our military-to-military relationship and also to inject positive elements into the new model of our major country relationship,” Xu said.
Brooks highlighted the progress made year-by-year since inception of the DME in 1998. Last year, USARPAC and the PLA added a practical field exchange to the DME, which was continued at this year’s exchange.
“In doing so, we added a new dimension to these exchanges,” Brooks said, “and that is that our soldiers get to see each other and learn from each other face-to-face and shoulder-to-shoulder.”
The United States is committed to a stable and prosperous, long-term relationship with China, and Gen. Brooks continues to ensure that USARPAC continues strengthening the bridge that has been built between our armies.