By Yew Lun Tian
BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s second-ranking military official pledged at a military forum on Monday to expand military ties with the United States, accusing “some countries” of “causing turmoil” and trying to undermine Communist Party rule.
The Beijing Xiangshan Forum, China’s largest annual military diplomacy event, began Sunday without the country’s defense minister, who normally hosts the event.
“We will deepen strategic cooperation and coordination with Russia and develop military ties with the United States on the basis of mutual respect, peaceful coexistence and win-win cooperation,” said Zhang Youxia, vice chairman of the Central Military Commission, during a keynote address at the forum . China’s defense minister has given this speech in recent years.
China and the US have not had direct military communication since the former Chinese defense minister was sanctioned by Washington. was appointed in March.
Li was fired without explanation last week and China did not name a replacement. Reuters reported last month that Li, who has been missing for two months, was under investigation for corruption.
“Some countries deliberately create turmoil, interfere in other countries’ internal affairs and incite color revolutions,” Zhang said in a veiled attack on Western countries, including the United States, which are increasingly coordinating with allies to curb Beijing’s military ambitions.
The Chinese government describes attempts to overthrow the rule of the Communist Party as the color revolution.
Zhang also accused “some countries” of adhering to a zero-sum game mentality and engaging in clique politics.
“Countries should not deliberately provoke other countries on important and sensitive issues like Taiwan,” he said, adding in his comments addressed to the United States that Taiwan was China’s core interest.
The US Department of Defense sent a delegation led by Cynthia Xanthi Carras, country director for China in the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense.
Many Western countries have either avoided the forum or send only small and low-level delegations, preferring instead to discuss international security issues at the annual Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore.
(Reporting by Yew Lun Tian; Writing by Laurie Chen; Editing by Tom Hogue)