U.S.-China Military Contacts: Issues for Congress
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS WASHINGTON DC CONGRESSIONAL RESEARCH SERVICE
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This CRS report, updated as warranted, discusses policy issues regarding military-to-military mil-to-mil contacts with the Peoples 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 Chinas military, the Peoples 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 naval confrontations including in 2009. In 2001, President Bush continued the policy of engagement with China, but the Pentagon skeptically reviewed and cautiously resumed mil-to-mil contacts. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, in 2002, resumed the Defense Consultative Talks DCT with the PLA first held in 1997 and, in 2003, hosted General Cao Gangchuan, a Vice Chairman of the Central Military Commission CMC and Defense Minister. General Richard Myers, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, visited China in January 2004, as the highest ranking U.S. military officer to do so since November 2000. Rumsfeld visited China in 2005, the first visit by a defense secretary since William Cohens visit in 2000. In 2006, a CMC Vice Chairman, General Guo Boxiong, made the first visit to the United States by the highest ranking PLA commander after 1998.
- Government and Political Science