Support our mission
 
Chinese Gen. Xu Caihou arrives at the Pentagon last October for security talks with Defense Secretary Robert Gates. It was the last high-level meeting between the two militaries.
Chinese Gen. Xu Caihou arrives at the Pentagon last October for security talks with Defense Secretary Robert Gates. It was the last high-level meeting between the two militaries. (R.D. Ward/Courtesy of the Department of Defense)

ARLINGTON, Va. — Chinese officials have indicated to the U.S. government they are ready to end the freeze in military relations, according to the Pentagon, possibly by the end of the year.

Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell said Chinese government officials expressed their change of heart to the U.S. through various channels, including to a White House economic delegation in Beijing this week. If schedules permit, Morrell said Defense Secretary Robert Gates would try to visit China by the end of the year.

“The Chinese have clearly signaled their interest in resuming military to military discussions and we are exploring right now how best to do that,” Morrell said Thursday.

China rescinded Gates’ invitation for a visit in June, part of its protest of a $6 billion U.S. arms sale to Taiwan in February. Other than the inclusion of Pacific Commander Adm. Robert Willard in a larger U.S. delegation to China this summer, Morrell said, “there really has been no engagement on a military-to-military basis.”

Morrell said both President Barack Obama and China’s President Hu Jintao, in addition to Gates, have called for more military exchanges to avoid misunderstandings. Last fall, Gen. Xu Caihou, vice chairman of the People’s Liberation Army central military commission, visited the Pentagon and several installations across the U.S., agreeing to exchanges with junior officers including maritime exercises.

According to China’s state-run Xinhua news service, Xu told the U.S. delegation that military relations, exchanges and dialogue were of “high importance” to the government.

“We have not been meeting the mandates set forth by our respective presidents,” Morrell said, adding the Gates wants to make progress before the two presidents meet early next year.

“What we are looking for is a productive, transparent military-to-military engagement so that we can both gain a better understanding of what our ambitions are, what our intentions are when it comes to our military budgets, how we operate, where we operate.”

baronk@stripes.osd.mil

Migrated

Stripes in 7



around the web


Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign-up to receive a daily email of today’s top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign up