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CNO Greenert: U.S. Navy Needs to Engage More With China

Adm. Jonathan Greenert thanks People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) Rear Adm. Sun Leng on July, 17 2014 in Dalian, China. US Navy Photo

Adm. Jonathan Greenert thanks People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) Rear Adm. Sun Leng on July, 17 2014 in Dalian, China. US Navy Photo

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The key to a peaceful maritime future between China and the U.S. will be rooted in additional engagement between the countries’ navies. U.S. Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert said at the CSIS and U.S. Naval Institute’s Maritime Security Dialogue on Tuesday.

“We all recognize the Chinese Navy is big and growing. It’s capable and they will continue to be more capable but they need to be a responsible neighbor in the Western Pacific as they expand — as they are — operating in the Indian Ocean,” Greenert said.
“I think it’s an opportunity that if don’t handle it well, it could be an increasing challenge. Some would say a threat. But first of all we need to recognize its an opportunity.”

So far this year, Greenert has met with his People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) counterpart Adm. Wu Shengli five times — more than any other Navy chief, Greenert said.

“I think he recognizes that a growing navy is also one that has to be responsible. We have to learn to coexist in the South China Sea, the East China Sea and everywhere,” Greenert said.
“He believes that miscalculation is one of our threats and our fear is that we get kicked off into something we don’t want to.”

In April, China, the U.S. and several other Western Pacific nations signed the Conduct for Unplanned Encounters at Sea (CUES) — an at-sea etiquette guide when naval ships meet in the region.
“We both agree that we have to enable those 40 years command officers with the right processes,” Greenert said.

CUES was implemented after an incident when U.S. guided missile cruiser USS Cowpens (CG-63) had a near collision with a Chinese amphibious ship in December.

Greenert also said that China and the U.S. plan to conduct more exchanges in the future, starting with a group of PLAN sailors traveling to Newport, R.I. later this year.

“It’s really about engagement,” Greenert said.
“We’ve to engage if we want to shape. I don’t see any way around it.”

  • disqus_89uuCprLIv

    Additionally the Naval War College needs to hold a series of strategic games to prepare a set of baseline responses should the PRC initiate hostile activities.

  • Ruckweiler

    Unfortunately, the Red Chinese PLAN have another agenda besides peaceful engagements.

    • Secundius

      @ Ruckweiler.

      Ain’t that the truth! Unfortunately, Ebola’s there now!!

    • 02144pomroy

      Looks like even the Navy has become Obamanized.

  • MRMcCaffery

    ‘We have to engage to shape”….to what end? What is the point? What is the narrative we want to express to China by offering them insight and hard-won knowledge into how we conduct operations as bait? This entire ‘engagement’ strategy seems pointless, as thirty years of encouraging such ‘engagements’ has won us absolutely nothing in terms of a more responsible China willing to observe international rules and norms. Pointless…

  • Secundius

    Art of War, 512 BCE. by Sun-tze (544 BCE. to 496 BCE.)
    “Know your enemy and know yourself and you will always be victorious.”

    The Prince, 1532 CE. by Niccolo Machiavelli (1469 CE. to 1527 CE.)
    “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.”

    • 02144pomroy

      It might look that way but I’m sure it’s not. Just a coincidence.

  • AW_66

    Engagement by diplomats, politicians and scholars is a wonderful thing. Yes, let the PLAN sailors visit Newport. Maybe even take them out to observe a gun shoot on Narragansett Bay (if we still do gun shoots) or something else impressive. If we want to avoid miscalculation, our military leadership should be constantly updating the plan to convincingly defeat our adversaries (for when the inevitable comes) and make sure they know it. 20th century history alone is replete with examples of engagement,
    appeasement and treaties that cost humanity over 80 million dead. Vegetius said
    it well: if you want peace, prepare for war. Good advice 2,000 years ago; still
    good advice today.

    • John Allard

      Well it’s seems the CNO thinks Vegetius is full of s***. I’m hearing talk about part of our ‘engagement’ with the PLAN would consist of teaching them what we’ve had to learn the hard way about Carrier operations.
      I’m starting to wonder if this nation still has fighting Admirals in its Navy? The Navy hasn’t been in a peer on peer fight, in over half a century, and then too it was an Asian Navy, the Imperial Japanese Navy or IJN, that we badly underestimated. Which brings another questions to mind, how well are US Naval installations in the Pacific protected from a surprise attack?
      I hope the CNO’s plan isn’t based on wishful thinking that the Chinese will be our friends in the Pacific, history would suggest we listen to Vegetius.

      • Ruckweiler

        Allard:
        That is insane. Let the PLAN learn the lessons themselves. This seems to make Lenin’s quote” the capitalists will sell us the rope with which we hang them” seem prescient. After Clinton allowed Loral to sell the Red Chinese satellite insertion technology which will make their MIRV’d missiles more accurate, I’m not surprised anymore at what the “leadership” will do.

  • 02144pomroy

    Yes. And let us just show them how to track our Virginia Class subs (if we haven’t showed them how already).

    Why don’t we just park the fleet in Hong Kong and go home. Lets make love, not war.

    Are there any true warriors left in the Pentagon?? Now hear this: In case you guys don’t know, THE CHINESE HATE OUR GUTS!

    Geez. If we only had been nicer to the Japanese…….

  • Nic DiLeonardo

    This “engagement and transparency” course has been tried by three successive CNO’s. The harvest has been more bad behavior by China, and our allies questioning their dependence on the US for their defense. Weakness begets instability in the Pacific. China is not interested in acting as a global force for good and stability. They have very specific national objectives–such as hegemonic control of all SCS natural resources. Global norms, codes of conduct be damned! Transparency is achieved through a detailed examination of their actions, not some weak conference…