Following talks between the commander of US forces in the
Pacific and Chinese military leaders on Wednesday the two countries
agreed to increase military exchanges at all levels.
"As an important part of bilateral relations China-US military
ties have gradually been restored and developed in recent years,"
Chinese Defense Minister Cao Gangchuan told US Admiral William
Ties between the two countries were broken off in 2001 when a
Chinese fighter aircraft was hit and damaged by a US surveillance
plane over the South China Sea.
Fallon's visit, the second to China since he assumed his post
last February, was expected to help warm US military relations with
The planned 45-minute meeting between Cao and Fallon was
extended to 90 minutes to allow a wide range of issues to be
covered, sources with the Chinese Defense Ministry said.
China held a positive attitude on improving military ties with
the US, Cao said. Contacts between senior military officials,
exchanges between military academies and mechanism-based exchanges
between the two countries had gone ahead as scheduled.
Fallon said it was important for the US and China to maintain
sound and stable military relations. He hoped the two countries
would step up exchanges and contacts at all levels and promote
mutual understanding and trust.
"As the Taiwan issue has a bearing on the core interests of
China we will ensure the peace and stability of Taiwan on the basis
of the one-China principle and improve relations across the
Strait," Cao said.
"We will show the greatest sincerity and make the utmost efforts
to strive for peaceful reunification," he added.
Urging the US to oppose "Taiwan independence" Cao called for an
end to US-Taiwan military contacts and US sales of advanced weapons
Reaffirming the US government's one-China stance Fallon said he
hoped the two sides across the Taiwan Strait would seek peaceful
solutions to their differences and refrain from conflict. He also
invited a Chinese delegation to observe US military exercises in
the Asia-Pacific region.
Prior to meeting Cao, Fallon met with People's Liberation Army
Deputy Chief of Staff Ge Zhenfeng and Chinese Foreign Ministry
The defense departments of China and the US have restored a
series of consultation mechanisms on maritime issues, humanitarian
disaster relief and military environmental protection.
Last October, US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld paid an
official visit to China, his first since taking office in 2001.
This year will see increased exchanges between military
institutions and staff, sources with Chinese Defense Ministry said,
adding a senior Chinese officer would visit the US in July.
The long discussions on installing a hotline between the two
defense ministries were expected to produce a result this year, the
Fallon's weeklong trip will also take him to military academies
and facilities in Xi'an, in Shaanxi Province; Hangzhou, in Zhejiang
Province and Shenyang, in Liaoning Province.
Fallon will host a press briefing in Shenyang at the end of his
tour on Monday.
(Xinhua News Agency May 11, 2006)