Author(s)Kan, Shirley A
KeywordsGovernment and Political Science
Humanities and History
Military Forces and Organizations
*MILITARY FORCES(UNITED STATES)
FOREIGN MILITARY SALES
UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT
*PEOPLE'S LIBERATION ARMY
TIANANMEN SQUARE CRISIS
TAIWAN STRAIT CRISIS
CHINESE EMBASSY BOMBING
EP-3 AIRCRAFT COLLISION CRISIS
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AbstractThis CRS report, updated as warranted, discusses policy issues regarding military-to-military (mil-to-mil) contacts with the People's Republic of China (PRC) and provides a record of major contacts and crises since 1993. The United States suspended military contacts with China and imposed sanctions on arms sales in response to the Tiananmen Crackdown in 1989. In 1993, the Clinton Administration re-engaged with the top PRC leadership, including China's military, the People's Liberation Army (PLA). Renewed military exchanges with the PLA have not regained the closeness reached in the 1980s, when U.S.-PRC strategic cooperation against the Soviet Union included U.S. arms sales to China. Improvements and deteriorations in overall bilateral relations have affected military contacts, which were close in 1997-1998 and 2000, but marred by the 1995-1996 Taiwan Strait crisis, mistaken NATO bombing of a PRC embassy in 1999, the EP-3 aircraft collision crisis in 2001, and aggressive maritime confrontations (including in 2009). Issues for Congress include whether the Obama Administration has complied with legislation overseeing dealings with the PLA and pursued contacts with the PLA that advance a prioritized set of U.S. security interests, especially the operational safety of U.S. military personnel. Skeptics and proponents of military exchanges with the PRC have debated whether the contacts have achieved results in U.S. objectives and whether the contacts have contributed to the PLA's warfighting capabilities that might harm U.S. security interests. Some have argued about whether the value that U.S. officials place on the contacts overly extends leverage to the PLA. Some believe talks can serve U.S. interests that include conflict avoidance/crisis management; military-civilian coordination; transparency and reciprocity; tension reduction over Taiwan; weapons nonproliferation; nuclear/missile/space/cyber talks; counterterrorism; and POW/MIA accounting.
CRS Report for Congress.
Copyright/LicenseApproved for public release; distribution is unlimited.
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U.S.-China Military Contacts: Issues for CongressLIBRARY OF CONGRESS WASHINGTON DC CONGRESSIONAL RESEARCH SERVICE; Kan, Shirley A. (2007-12-12)This CRS Report discusses policy issues regarding military-to-military (mil-to-mil) contacts with the People's Republic of China (PRC) and provides a record of major contacts since 1993. The United States suspended military contacts with China and imposed sanctions on arms sales in response to the Tiananmen Crackdown in 1989. In 1993, the Clinton Administration began to re-engage the PRC leadership up to the highest level and including China's military, the People's Liberation Army (PLA). Renewed military exchanges with the PLA have not regained the closeness reached in the 1980s, when U.S.-PRC strategic cooperation against the Soviet Union included U.S. arms sales to China. Improvements and deteriorations in overall bilateral relations have affected military contacts, which were close in 1997-1998 and 2000, but marred by the 1995-1996 Taiwan Strait crisis, mistaken NATO bombing of a PRC embassy in 1999, and the EP-3 aircraft collision crisis in 2001. Since 2001, the Bush Administration has continued the policy of engagement with China, while the Pentagon has skeptically reviewed and cautiously resumed a program of mil-to-mil exchanges. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, in 2002, resumed the Defense Consultative Talks with the PLA and, in 2003, hosted General Cao Gangchuan, a Vice Chairman of the Central Military Commission and Defense Minister. General Richard Myers (USAF), Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, visited China in Jan 2004, as the highest ranking U.S. military officer to do so since Nov 2000. In Sep 2005, Admiral William Fallon sought to advance mil-to-mil contacts, including combined exercises. In June 2006, Fallon invited PLA observers to the U.S. "Valiant Shield" exercise that brought three aircraft carriers to waters off Guam. Issues for the 110th Congress include whether the Administration has complied with legislation overseeing dealings with the PLA and has determined a program of contacts with the PLA that advances U.S. security interests.