Tuesday June 2, 2020


June 10, 2013

Amb. Freeman (center) and Adm. Fallon (right) discuss the USCPF Military Delegation Trip to China

On June 10, the U.S.-China Policy Foundation hosted a luncheon discussion of the April 2013 Military Delegation Trip to China. The luncheon took place at the Cosmos Club and was attended by members of USCPF’s board and representatives from area think-tanks and universities. Maj. Gen. Xu Nanfeng, the Defense Attache of the People’s Republic of China, was also present as a honored guest.

Adm. William Fallon and Amb. Chas Freeman shared their thoughts about their April 2013 trip to China as part of a military delegation organized by USCPF. Both men stressed that the conversations with Chinese officials and experts were more open than normal, resulting in meaningful discussions about the Korean peninsula, maritime disputes, and U.S.-China mil-to-mil relations. Adm. Fallon and Amb. Freeman noted similarities in the attitude of officials they met with during the trip and that of Xi Jinping. The Chinese government has been making serious overtures towards implementing a “new type of great power relationship” in the military arena. The Chinese government believes that U.S.-China relations have reached a critical juncture, and both countries must decide if they are partners or enemies.

However, while there is cause for optimism, Amb. Freeman cautioned that no real progress has yet been made. For the mil-to-mil relationship to truly improve, officials on both sides will need to take concrete action in addition to having discussions. Adm. Fallon said that China’s inclusion in the RIMPAC military exercise in 2014 is a positive step, but he would also like to see China attend the annual Chiefs of Defense Conference. This conference, attended each year by senior military representatives from over 25 countries throughout the Asia-Pacific region, is a site for significant dialogue, but China has not yet attended. At present, there is not enough meaningful dialogue between China and the U.S., Adm. Fallon said. Amb. Freeman pointed out that without such dialogues it would be impossible to define the nature of U.S.-China relations, leaving a dangerous amount of uncertainty.

USCPF was proud to host this intimate discussion of U.S.-China military relations in light of the first-hand experiences of our April delegation.