The United States hopes China, which suspended military contacts with Washington in October, will soon resume them to work together against piracy in the Gulf of Aden, U.S. defense officials said on Thursday.
China took the action to protest a $6.5 billion U.S. arms sale to Taiwan.
“It is a fact that the Chinese suspended ‘mil-to-mil’ dialogue with the Timothy Keating, who commands all U.S. forces in Asia and the Pacific.in general and U.S. Pacific Command,” said Navy Adm.
A defense official said the suspension occurred after the United States announced the arms package including 30 Apache attack helicopters and 330 Patriot missiles.
The sale angered Beijing, which has vowed in the past to bring Taiwan under its rule, by force if necessary. The United States switched from Taipei to Beijing in 1979 but Washington remains Taiwan’s strongest ally and biggest arms supplier.
By David Morgan, Reuters
At the time, thesaid China canceled or postponed several military-to-military exchanges, including senior officer visits and a humanitarian relief program.
Keating told reporters prospects of China sending warships to the seas off Somalia to help international efforts against piracy could provide a “springboard” for resuming ties.
“We are in dialogue in various agencies and commands in an attempt to provide information to the People’s Liberation Army navy should their country decide to deploy ships,” he said.
“This augurs well for increased cooperation and collaboration between the Chinese military forces and U.S. Pacific Command forces,” Keating said. “So I’m cautiously optimistic.”