Agreement Between the
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
and the PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF CHINA
Signed at Beijing January 19, 1998
NOTE BY THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Pursuant to Public Law 89—497, approved July 8, 1966
(80 Stat. 271; 1 U.S.C. 113)—
“. . .the Treaties and Other International Acts Series issued
under the authority of the Secretary of State shall be competent
evidence . . . of the treaties, international agreements other than
treaties, and proclamations by the President of such treaties and
international agreements other than treaties, as the case may be,
therein contained, in all the courts of law and equity and of maritime
jurisdiction, and in all the tribunals and public offices of the
United States, and of the several States, without any further proof
or authentication thereof.”
PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF CHINA
Maritime Matters: Military Safety
Agreement signed at Beijing January 19, 1998;
Entered into force January 19, 1998.
THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE OF
THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA AND
THE MINISTRY OF NATIONAL DEFENSE
OF THE PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CHINA ON
ESTABLISHING A CONSULTATION MECHANISM
TO STRENGTHEN MILITARY MARITIME SAFETY
The Department of Defense of the United States of America and the
Ministry of National Defense of the People's Republic of China, hereinafter
referred to as the Parties,
Recognizing the principles contained in the three U.S.-Sino Joint
Communiques, the spirit of mutual respect, and the experience shared by
professional mariners and airmen due to the common challenges they face in
the maritime environment,
Recognizing the need to promote common understanding regarding
activities undertaken by their respective maritime and air forces when
operating in accordance with international law, including the principles and
regimes reflected in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea,
Desiring to establish a stable channel for consultations between their
respective maritime and air forces,
Recognizing that such consultations will strengthen the bonds of
friendship between the people of their two countries,
Have agreed as follows:
The Parties shall encourage and facilitate, as appropriate, consultations
between delegations authorized by the Department of Defense and the Ministry
of National Defense respectively for the purpose of promoting common
understandings regarding activities undertaken by their respective maritime
and air forces when operating in accordance with international law, including
the principles and regimes reflected in the United Nations Convention on the
Law of the Sea.
The mechanisms for consultation shall be:
1. Annual meetings, normally scheduled for two to three days, and consisting
of briefings and discussion on agenda items to be agreed upon by consensus
between the Parties. Such agreement shall be communicated through defense
attaché, defense ministry, or other diplomatic channels. Each Party shall host
the meeting in alternating years. A delegation representing each Party shall be
headed by an admiral or general officer, and comprised of military officers and
civilian employees in the defense ministry, foreign ministry, and military
headquarters, as well as professional officers engaged in activities at sea.
Suggested agenda items regarding the activities at sea of the Parties' maritime
and air forces may include, among other items, such measures to promote safe
maritime practices and establish mutual trust as search and rescue,
communications procedures when ships encounter each other, interpretation
of the Rules of the Nautical Road and avoidance of accidents-at-sea.
2. Working groups, consisting of subject matter experts, to study and discuss
agenda items agreed by consensus between the delegations at the annual
meetings. Agenda items to be studied and discussed shall be selected using
the same criteria as agenda items for annual meetings. A report of their work
shall be made at the annual meetings.
3. Special meetings, as mutually agreed upon through defense attaché,
defense ministry or other diplomatic channels, for the purpose of consulting on
specific matters of concern relating to the activities at sea of their respective
maritime and air forces.
Upon completion of the annual meeting, a summary of the proceedings
shall be signed by the heads of the delegations in duplicate, in the English and
In order to foster a free exchange of views, details of consultations held
pursuant to Article II shall remain between the Parties. The mutually agreed
upon summary of the proceedings shall be available for release to third parties.
The obligation of each Party to engage in consultations pursuant to
Article II is subject to its internal processes regarding the availability of funds.
Each Party shall bear the cost of its participation in activities carried out under
this Agreement. If, after this agreement enters into force, one Party cannot
participate in activities listed in Article II, it shall provide written notification to
the other Party.
Each Party shall provide, subject to the laws and regulations of its
respective government, customs, passport and visa, quarantine and other
assistance to delegation members from the other Party who are engaged in
activities pursuant to Article II in order to facilitate their entry and exit from its
This Agreement may be amended by written agreement of the Parties.
Any disagreement concerning the interpretation or implementation of the
Agreement shall be resolved by consultation between the Parties.
This Agreement shall enter into force upon signature of both Parties.
Either Party may terminate this Agreement by written notification to the other
Party, such termination to take effect three months following the date of
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the respective representatives have signed this
DONE AT Beijing, in duplicate, this 19th day of January, 1998, in the
English and Chinese languages, each text being equally authentic.
FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE
OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA:
FOR THE MINISTRY OF NATIONAL DEFENSE
OF THE PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CHINA: