Navy Admiral Locklear: China, U.S. overcoming differences and building trust

The U.S. and China are looking to strengthen their alliance by building a foundation of trust between the nations, while also upholding regional security and affluence, the top U.S. commander in the Pacific region said Tuesday.

"While competition between the United States and China is inevitable, conflict is not," Navy Adm. Samuel J. Locklear III, commander of U.S. Pacific Command, said before the National Committee for U.S. China Relations in New York.

Locklear said the two countries must find areas in which they can cooperate and although differences will exist, the nations must manage those differences to successfully form a powerful alliance. Locklear encouraged the leaders to imagine a world where "the U.S. and china collaborate to build upon an existing Indo-Asia-Pacific community of peace and prosperity."

The countries differ on a number of subjects, such as cyberspace, maritime global concerns and the increased U.S. role in the Asia-Pacific region. Locklear said the U.S. rebalance is a whole-of-government strategy, and recognized that "he United States' success in the 21st century will, to a large extent, depend on what happens in this critically important region of the world."

The countries do have similar views on certain matters, such as the use of nuclear weapons in North Korea, HIV/AIDS and pandemic disease initiatives and China's increase in participation in the international community.

"First, it is my belief that neither of our two nations desire conflict, especially armed conflict," Locklear said.

Locklear said there has been an increase in military-to-military dialogue between the nations, which helps develop trust. Channels of communication have opened and the countries have begun cooperating on issues important to both parties.

"We must move beyond our individual differences to bring consensus to issues that threaten regional stability and future prosperity," Locklear said.

Locklear said both countries have a responsibility to the international community to address a variety of issues including maritime domain, territorial disputes in the South China and East China Seas, piracy, terrorism, proliferation and pandemic diseases.

"I believe the best hope for sustained bilateral cooperation will come from strategically identifying those areas where our interests overlap and building, over time, greater understanding and trust between our two armed forces," Locklear said.