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Senior Chinese Military Official Meets US WWII Veteran
   2015-06-13 17:00:03    CRIENGLISH.com      Web Editor: Guo Jing

Fan Changlong (R), vice chairman of China's Central Military Commission, talks with 91-year-old Flying Tigers' veteran J.V. Vinyard (L) on June 12, 2015, in Washington, D.C. [Photo: CRI Online]

The Deputy-head of the People's Liberation Army has met with an American World War II veteran who fought along-side Chinese forces during the war.

CRI's Qian Shanming has more.


General Fan Changlong, vice chair of China's Central Military Commission, has taken time out to laud the contributions and sacrifices made by the United States and the American people during World War II.

"You represented the American people to help us fight the war against Japanese invasion, and I would like to convey through you our sincere gratitude to the American people for their immense support to China during the war 70 years ago."

Fan Changlong's comments have been made as part of his current tour to the United States.

As part of his trip, he's taken time out to meet directly with a surviving member of the US military squadron known as the "Flying Tigers."

91-year old J.V. Vinyard says he's amazed by the reverence people in China still have for his group's exploits during the war.

"I further appreciate the fact that even today, the Chinese people remember us so well. And when I go to China which I have been over five times and hoped to be there by September. I'm amazed at the people who showed interest in WWII and what the American did for China in WWII. And my assistance to the Chinese was one of my greatest moments of my life that I will never forget it."

The "Flying Tigers" was an American air squadron formed in 1941 to help Chinese forces fighting the Japanese during their invasion.

Vinyard and other American pilots were tasked with defending the so-called "Burma Road," which ran from today's Myanmar into Yunnan with American supplies for Chinese troops.

They have also been involved in flying "The Hump," which is the term the pilots used to refer to the treacherous flight over the Himalayas to transport military supplies from India to southwest China.

During the meeting, general Fan Changlong has also criticized the Japanese government over its "irresponsible remarks and practices".

"Shinzo Abe and the current Japanese government have never fully admitted to their war crimes like Germany has done. They deny the results of WWII, try to distort history, deny the history of comfort women and continue to visit the Yasukuni Shrine. All these are firmly opposed by the Chinese people and all the people who oppose fascism around the world."

Meanwhile, Fan Changlong has overseen the signing of documents creating a direct communications link between the armies of China and the United States.

At the same time, the two sides have also committed to conduct land-based training exercises as early as next year.

Fan Changlong also says the Chinese side is preparing to sign-off on a new amendment to a previous accord on how to deal with air-to-air encounters.

Guan Youfei with China's Ministry of Defense says the new arrangement will reduce the risk of miscalculations or accidents when aircraft from the two countries are operating in close proximity.

"The air-to-air annex needs further negotiations. Both sides are working in the hope of completing related negotiations before August. In this way, the two armies will be subscribing to a single rule and regulation, be it vertically or horizontally, and achieving total security."

Fan Changlong is the most senior Chinese military leader to travel to Washington since President Xi Jinping took office in late 2012.

His week-long trip has seen him make stops at the Boeing factory in Seattle, as well as US military installations in California and Texas.

For CRI, I'm Qian Shanming.

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