At the Beijing Xiangshan Forum on Monday, Chinese and Russian military chiefs targeted the United States for criticism, even as China’s second-most-senior military commander vowed to boost defense ties with Washington.
Russia’s Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu warned the West that its involvement in the Ukraine war created grave danger and praised the model of Russia-China relations as “exemplary.” Zhang Youxia, vice chairman under President Xi Jinping on China’s Central Military Commission, delivered veiled criticism of the United States and its allies, accusing “some countries” of trying to undermine the government and instigate colour revolutions.
However, Zhang also stressed the need for improved military ties with the United States, saying that China is willing to develop military ties with the U.S. on the basis of mutual respect, peaceful coexistence, and win-win cooperation.
The participation of a U.S. delegation at the forum is a sign that both sides are still interested in maintaining communication, even as tensions between the two superpowers rise. However, the veiled criticism from both the Chinese and Russian military chiefs is a reminder of the deep divisions that remain between the United States and its two main rivals.
Implications for US-China Relations
The Beijing Xiangshan Forum is a significant event in the US-China relationship, as it provides a platform for military-to-military dialogue and cooperation. The fact that China invited a U.S. delegation to the forum is a positive sign, but the veiled criticism from both sides is a reminder of the challenges that lie ahead.
The United States and China have a number of outstanding security issues, including Taiwan, the South China Sea, and nuclear proliferation. The two sides also have different views on the nature of international order, with the United States favoring a liberal order and China favoring a more multipolar order.
Despite the challenges, it is important for the United States and China to maintain communication and dialogue, especially on military issues. A miscalculation or misunderstanding could lead to a serious conflict, which is in neither side’s interest.
The Beijing Xiangshan Forum was a mixed bag for US-China relations. On the one hand, the fact that China invited a U.S. delegation is a positive sign. On the other hand, the veiled criticism from both sides is a reminder of the deep divisions that remain between the two superpowers.
It is important for the United States and China to maintain communication and dialogue, especially on military issues. However, both sides will need to make concessions and find common ground if they want to avoid conflict and build a more stable and prosperous future.