October 28, 2009
Gates calls for continued military dialogue with China
US Defense Secretary Robert Gates says dialogue is the only way to solve the disagreements that pop up in US-China military ties from time to time.
In talks with China’s second-highest ranking military official, General Xu Caihou, on Tuesday, Gates stressed the need to continue the dialogue between the two countries’ militaries, regardless of disputes or policy differences, Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell told reporters after their meeting.
“There is a need to break the on-again-off-again cycle of our military-to-military relationship,” said Morrell.
Xu is visiting Washington to improve US-China military ties, to express concern over US arms sales to Taiwan, and to protest US surveillance ships patrolling off China’s waters.
It is the first high-level visit by a Chinese military official since 2006,
Last year, Beijing stopped military exchanges with Washington for months when the US offered an arms package to Taiwan worth $6.5 billion.
Xu invited Gates, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen, and the Commander of the US Pacific Command, Admiral Robert Willard, to visit China.