China and the U.S. resumed military-to-military consultations Friday after a five-month suspension over American arms sales to Taiwan, but a top Chinese officer warned the exchanges remain in a "difficult period."
China froze military exchanges in October to register its anger over a $6.5 billion U.S. arms sale to Taiwan that included advanced weaponry such as Patriot missiles and Apache attack helicopters. China, which claims self-ruled Taiwan is part of its territory, complained that the sale interfered with its internal affairs.
Contacts resumed with talks led by David Sedney, a U.S. deputy assistant secretary of defense, and Maj. Gen. Qian Lihua, the Chinese Defense Ministry's head of foreign affairs.
Qian was quoted by the official Xinhua News Agency as saying that contacts would remain tenuous unless the U.S. removes remaining obstacles to improvement.
"China-U.S. military relations still stay at a difficult period. We expect the U.S. side to take concrete measures for the resumption and development of our military ties," it quoted Qian as saying.
Beijing retaliated for the U.S. arms sale by canceling a visit to the U.S. by a senior Chinese general and port calls by naval vessels. It also indefinitely postponed meetings on humanitarian assistance, disaster relief and stopping the spread of weapons of mass destruction.
Qian offered no timeline for the resumption of those exchanges. The stumbling blocks include weapons sales to Taiwan and U.S. legislative restrictions on bilateral military contacts, according to another officer cited by Xinhua, Rear Admiral Yang Yi of the National Defense University's Institute for Strategic Studies.
Qian emphasised that the two days of talks in Beijing did not mean that the suspended military exchanges—such as more senior-level contacts and disaster relief co-ordination—would automatically resume.
‘Frankly speaking, it will take a long time to restore our military exchanges as not a single obstacle in military ties has been removed so far,’ he said, specifically mentioning arms sales to Taiwan.
"The U.S. practice of throwing stones at others while living in a glass house is a testimony to the double standards and hypocrisy of the United States in dealing with its human rights issues," said the Chinese report.
The U.S. State Department report said detention and harassment of dissidents, petitioners, human rights defenders and defense lawyers rose with high-profile events such as the Beijing Olympic Games in August.
Citing details from U.S. newspapers and international rights groups that Beijing often dismisses as biased, the Chinese report described crowded prisons, racial inequality, poverty and gun violence that it said blighted the U.S. record.
In past decades, China's ruling Communist Party outright dismissed human rights as an alien and subversive idea. But now it is trying to persuade its own citizens and the world that Beijing has successfully advanced rights, especially through economic growth.
Washington should "face its own human rights problems with courage and stop applying double standards to human rights issues," said the Chinese report.
Once again, remember: you dont get to criticize your creditors.