The Chinese military on Friday cited the country’s Naval Chief Wu Shengli as telling visiting U.S. officers that relations between the Chinese and United States navies are their best in history and interactions will become increasingly systematic.
Wu reportedly explained that China and the U.S. have been conducting joint drills and agreeing on rules of encounter at sea and air.
“Exchanges and communications are more trusting and effective,” Wu was cited as saying.
These comments come after U.S. naval officials announced they plan to launch freedom-of-navigation operations within the 12-nautical-mile zone of artificial islands China has built in the disputed South China Sea – a move that is likely to enrage Beijing.
Although the citation made no mention of the South China Sea, Beijing has raised concerns among the U.S. and neighboring countries over its territorial claims in the region, through which $5 trillion of ship-borne goods pass every year.
Members of a U.S. naval delegation met with Wu while visiting China’s sole aircraft carrier. According to the Chinese military’s newspaper, the officers also visited a submarine school and command college.