Chinese defense minister to visit U.S. next week
Published: May 2, 2012
WASHINGTON — Chinese Defense Minister Liang Guanglie will visit the Pentagon and several U.S. military bases next week, Defense Department spokesman George Little told reporters Wednesday.
Liang will meet with Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and other U.S. officials in Washington on Monday, Little said. He also plans to visit Naval Base San Diego; U.S. Southern Command headquarters in Florida; Fort Benning, Ga.; Camp Lejeune, N.C.; Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, N.C.; and the United States Military Academy at West Point, N.Y.
This will be Liang’s first visit to the U.S. as the defense minister. Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping visited the United States in February.
The long-planned visit is “an attempt to further strengthen our military cooperation and contacts with the Chinese,” Little said. “We believe this is an important point on the trajectory of increased cooperation with our Chinese counterparts.”
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, acting Undersecretary of Defense James N. Miller, Pacific Command chief Adm. Samuel Locklear and other U.S. officials are in China this week for the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue.
Capt. John Kirby, also a DOD spokesman, said Panetta plans to visit Beijing in the “not-too-distant future.”
Liang’s visit is “part of the routine dialogue we have tried to maintain with our counterparts [in China],” Kirby said.
Little did not indicate what the defense officials will discuss, but noted that “transparency has been an important theme from the U.S. side in forging a closer relationship with the Chinese.”