Sino-US military ties march forward

09:11, October 29, 2009      

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The militaries of China and the United States have agreed to send more high-ranking officers to visit each other's country, with US Defense Secretary Robert Gates visiting China next year.

That would be Gates' second China visit in the capacity of US defense secretary.

The Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen is also expected to visit China, and Chief of General Staff of the People's Liberation Army Chen Bingde will visit the US next year.

General Xu Caihou, vice-chairman of the Central Military Commission of the Communist Party of China, who is on his US visit, exchanged notes with Gates for 75 minutes in Washington on relations between the two countries and two militaries. They reached consensus on many fronts. Xu's visit represented the highest-level visit by a Chinese military official since 2006.

It was also a concrete sign of improving relations between the two militaries after China halted military-to-military dialogue with the US last year to protest a $6.5 billion arms sale to Taiwan.

Xu said in Washington on Monday that US-Chinese military relations have improved since January's inauguration of President Barack Obama, who will visit China next month.

At Tuesday's meeting, Xu reiterated long-standing "obstacles" to deepening ties with the U.S. military, a US official said. These included tensions over Taiwan.

The Chinese general asked the US to abide by strictly the three joint statements the two countries signed and halt arms sales to the island.

Source: China Daily
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