“They do not like their military engaged in policy in the way that our forces are engaged on a regular basis,” he said.
“They are very careful in exposing the military to what they believe is the exclusive domain of senior party officials,” he said. “What the Chinese want is for the US not to operate so regularly and so closely to their borders.”
Campbell added that Beijing was worried that if it reached a protocol agreement with the US on how to deal with an accident, it would be like “giving seat belts to speeders.”
For China believed that such an agreement would give the US greater confidence when operating close to the Chinese borders because if their was a crisis the US would have the ability to get out of it, he said.
“They don’t want us to have that confidence when operating near them,” he said.
China has a very different concept of deterrence from the US, he added.
While the US shows off its military to keep other countries in line, China keeps its forces secret in the belief that uncertainty will cause potential enemies to be more careful, he said.
“There are very deep differences in strategic culture,” he said.
The great challenge of the next 20 years would be to find some common ground, Campbell said.
With the frenetic quality of American diplomacy, we are really going to have to really focus on this,” he said.