United States Military-To-Military Contacts with the People's Liberation Army: Can it Further U.S. Policies and Aims in the Asia-Pacific Region?
ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLL FORT LEAVENWORTH KS
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The growth and importance of the Peoples Republic of China PRC necessitates that the United States foster a relationship that ensures a stable, prosperous, and peaceful Asia-Pacific region. Given the status and role that the Peoples Liberation Army PLA takes in the PRC, military-to-military contact between the United States Armed Forces and the PLA is vital. Mirroring the political tides between the two countries--from the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1979 to the halting of military-to-military contacts after the Belgrade Embassy bombing in 1999 and EP-3 incident in April 2001 military-to-military contact is slowly growing again. The purpose and intent of the contacts are to foster access and understanding. Weak reciprocity and inadequate transparency by the PLA are issues that hamper relations. Information about the efficacy of military-to-military contact with the PLA is difficult to gather, thus this analysis draws on analogous experiences from previous contact programs with the Soviet Union and Indonesia to argue that the contact programs can foster behavior supporting U.S. interests. The thesis concludes with recommendations to improve the contact programs between the U.S. Armed Forces and the PLA.
- Military Forces and Organizations