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Home >> China
UPDATED: 09:42, March 23, 2007
China, US militaries step up exchanges
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Photo:Chief of the General Staff of the People's Liberation Army Liang Guanglie chats with Marine General Peter Pace, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, at a welcoming ceremony in Beijing on March 22, 2007.
Chief of the General Staff of the People's Liberation Army Liang Guanglie chats with Marine General Peter Pace, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, at a welcoming ceremony in Beijing on March 22, 2007.
The People's Liberation Army (PLA) is keeping a close watch on Taiwan secessionists' actions and attempts to seek "independence", the Chief of the General Staff Liang Guanglie said Thursday, March 22 in Beijing.

The question of Taiwan concerns the core interests of China and the national feeling of 1.3 billion Chinese people, according to Liang.

"We will make our utmost efforts to safeguard the stability of the Taiwan Straits and push for a peaceful reunification of the motherland," he said in a meeting with Marine General Peter Pace, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Pace said the US wants to develop stable relations with China to avoid misunderstandings; and reaffirmed that his country will adhere to the one-China policy and wants a peaceful solution to the Taiwan question.

Pace arrived in Beijing yesterday for a four-day visit, which also includes a seminar at the PLA Academy of Military Sciences, and visits to military areas in Shenyang in Northeast China and Nanjing in East China.

Pace also had discussions with vice-chairmen of the Central Military Commission General Cao Gangchuan and General Guo Boxiong.

Cao, also defense minister, told Pace that China has made great efforts to increase its military transparency and the increase of the military budget is moderate.

"China pushes the modernization of national defense on the basis of economic growth, with the aim of adapting to the new military reform and development trend in the world and meeting the demand of safeguarding national security and interests," Cao said.

China announced earlier this month a 17.8 percent annual rise in the defense budget to 350.9 billion yuan ($44.94 billion).

Guo said that China and US share wide-ranging strategic interests, and the two countries are both "stake-holders" and "constructive cooperators".

He urged both sides to treasure the bilateral military relationship, which has witnessed ups and downs in past years.

Relations between the Chinese and US armies have been improving since a mid-air collision between a US spy plane and a Chinese fighter jet over the South China Sea in 2001.

Guo visited the US in July last year to lift bilateral military ties to a new level, while the former commander of US forces in the Pacific, Admiral William J. Fallon visited China twice last year and invited the PLA to observe military drills.

A joint search-and-rescue exercise between the two armies last year was seen as a breakthrough in military exchanges.

Most recently, US and Chinese ships joined those from other nations in anti-terrorism drills hosted by Pakistan.

Pace told a press conference in Japan on Wednesday that he did not regard China as a threat and hoped to further build military ties.

He said he would urge additional joint search-and-rescue exercises and expand contacts between officers, including having junior officers from China and the US attending courses together.

"When you get to know each other and know how each other thinks, you build trust and confidence," said Pace at the press conference.

"I'm looking for ways to respect China as a nation that deserves respect."

Source: China Daily


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