You know I love it when the Secretary of Defense speaks his mind.
“I’m disappointed that the PLA leadership has not seen the same potential benefits from this kind of a military-to-military relationship as their own leadership,” Gates told reporters during a visit to Singapore Thursday.
Gates had wanted to stop in China during this recent trip, but Beijing cancelled the visit. Gates said he doesn’t think it the civilian leaders in China who put the brakes on the stopover.
“Nearly all of the aspects of the relationship between the United States and China are moving forward in a positive direction, with the sole exception of the military-to-military relationship. And whether this is the result of pushback by the PLA or there is some other factor, it’s very difficult for us to tell,” Gates said.
Gates wants China’s help in reducing tension on the Korean peninsula, but so far, Beijing hasn’t engaged.
“I think having a conversation with the Chinese about North Korea would be helpful. I think it’s one of the aspects of this broader strategic relationship that would be beneficial. But we’re not interested if they’re not interested” CNN.
But who seriously thinks that China is going to even sniff at an appearance of taking sides with either North Korea or South Korea/United States? Surely that was in part why Kim Jong-Il’s visit to China was so muted last month, and why a lot of fanfare hasn’t surrounded trilateral talks between Japan, South Korea, and China. If any nation is going to hedge its bets, Mr. Gates, it’s going to be China.
Besides which, it sure doesn’t help that his boss is cancelling trips to the Pacific (for the second time), no matter how pressing the domestic issue.