Dempsey visit seeks to strengthen potential U.S.-China partnership
Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, visited China this past week and met with a range of the nation's leaders, including its president and aviation cadets. Dempsey said his visit in China was successful, having had the opportunity to discuss a wide range of topics including the potential of nuclear war with North Korea, increasing cyber technology and the U.S. rebalance to the Asia-Pacific region.
Dempsey made visits to see Chinese President Xi Jinping, State Counselor Yang Jiechi, Gen. Chang Wanguan, Gen. Fam Changlong and Gen. Fang Fenghui. During these discussions, Dempsey said that it seemed the Chinese leaders simply wanted to gain an understanding of the U.S. position on certain topics.
When asked about the topic of North Korea's potential for beginning nuclear war, the U.S. and China were both reportedly very transparent about their alliances with opposing parties, and both parties expressed a strong desire to never have to see this occur.
"If they were to launch, we do have the capability to defend ourselves, our people, our facilities," Dempsey said. "We think there's still time for North Korea's leaders to back away from further provocations, and we certainly hope they take the opportunity to do so."
The next topic discussed was cyber concerns in China. Dempsey followed up on Secretary of State John F. Jerry's agreement with Chinese officials to create a cyber working group.
"We had a very useful discussion about how the challenges in cyber are migrating from theft to disruption, and left unaddressed, are likely to lead to destruction," Dempsey said.
Dempsey said that because China has one of the strongest economies, they would be likely to utilize technology and should do so with heightened security. "I encouraged them to put their best and brightest minds to seek a level of collaboration and transparency with us, because it will affect both of our futures," Dempsey said.
Other topics discussed were oil reserves on islands between the U.S. and Japan and U.S. rebalancing in the Asia-Pacific region. China sought to gain an understanding of U.S. involvement in the region and how the initiative would play out.
"I think I was successful in describing it as a long-term process," Dempsey said. "We've never suggested this would be something that would manifest itself overnight. But also, it was a strategic imperative for us to rebalance, over time, to the Pacific."
Dempsey called the discussion about rebalance "dynamic" and followed up on President Barack Obama's work to forge a new relationship with the country.
"I like to believe that my trip here has contributed to a greater understanding of what we're doing and why," Dempsey said. "But it's something that we're going to have to continue to work over time."