Rear Adm. Li Ji, deputy director of
Foreign Affairs Office of China’s
Ministry of National Defense.
China’s state-run news agency
Xinhua concurrently reported that
China’s Defense Ministry spokes-person Yang Yujun also had dismissed the report that U.S.-China
military ties were facing new obstacles until the two sides could reach
an agreement on rules for airborne
China and the United States
actively developed a new model for
military ties in 2014, featuring new
progress in high-level exchanges,
institutional exchanges, and joint
training and exercises, Yang said in
the Xinhua report.
China participated for the first
time in the 22-nation Rim of the
Pacific maritime exercise off the coast
of Hawaii last summer. Chief of
Naval Operations ADM Jonathan W.
Greenert also visited People’s
Liberation Army Navy facilities and
vessels in China around that same
Furthermore, Yang noted in the
report that “mutual trust mechanisms,” including a mutual reporting on major military
operations, and a code of safe conduct on naval and air
military encounters between the two sides, had
become the highlight of the China-U.S. military ties.
Economic analysts have gone even further to understand the U.S.-China outlook, peeling back a layer of
military inflexibility and might to illustrate what is happening in terms of China’s social and economic reforms.
With a 10 percent increase in military spending for
2015, the military expense figures are down from a 12
percent increase last year, continuing the slower pace of
growth of the past few years that reflects the Chinese
economy, said Nicholas Consonery, director on the Asia
team at Eurasia Group, a global political risk, research
and consulting firm based in Washington.
“I think the question right now is really going to be
to what extent China’s defense expenditure capability
is affected by a more difficult growth environment,”
Consonery told Seapower. “Basically, China has sus-
tained double-digit increases in their military expendi-
tures every year for quite some time, but I think
increasingly the question is going to be whether that is
sustainable in an environment where the economy is
actually slowing down, and pretty dramatically.”
A potentially more difficult economic period ahead
has presented the Chinese government with significant
downward pressure on growth, forcing the administra-
tion of Xi Jinping, China’s president and party leader,
to pursue significant reform in terms of the way the
economy operates, and even the way the governing
system operates, Consonery said.
“China has come out of a phase where they were
massively exposed to exports in the global economy,”
Consonery said. “They’ve been trying to achieve a
reorientation to a more sustainable, domestically driv-
en model of growth, but we are starting to see that that
reorientation is really going to take some years.”
In terms of external relations and international ties,
particularly with the United States and Russia, the eco-
nomic and social changes that China faces are an impe-
tus for stability with foreign partners, Consonery said.
“The [reform agenda] clearly provides a pretty significant motivator to have stable external relations, and stable foreign policy relations,” he said. “China recognizes
they have huge domestic economic problems and it is
no coincidence that they are headed into a more difficult
economic period at a time when the U.S. economic
recovery is starting to really accelerate.”
Hull Maintenance Technician 1st Class Donipaul Briscoe, left, discusses various damage control tools with members of the Chinese People’s Liberation
Army Navy aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Sterett during U.S.-China Counter-Piracy Exercise 15 in the Gulf of Aden Dec. 11. China and the
United States actively developed a new model for military ties in 2014.