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Chinese Leaders Meet Rumsfeld

President Hu Jintao and Defense Minister Cao Gangchuan each met with visiting United States Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on Wednesday in Beijing. Both sides have agreed to make concerted efforts to further promote relations between the two nations and their armies.

Hu, also chairman of the Central Military Commission, said that China-US relations have seen good growth on the whole.

Hu described bilateral cooperation in economy and trade, anti-terrorism, nonproliferation of nuclear weapons and United Nations reform as "fruitful".

"When we met in New York not long ago, President George W. Bush and I reached an important consensus on pushing forward comprehensive Sino-US relations in the 21st century, which is of great significance in furthering bilateral ties", Hu said.

He pointed out that China and the US are both very influential nations with commensurate responsibilities in safeguarding world peace and promoting common development.

"China attaches great importance to relations with the US and is willing to join hands with the US to further implement the three China-US joint communiqu├ęs", Hu said.

Hu also voiced his hope that the two defense departments would work towards improving relations between the two armed forces.

Rumsfeld echoed Hu's remarks on the significance for the US and China in furthering relations and strengthening cooperation with mutual benefits on important international issues.

He also congratulated China on its successful launch of a second manned spacecraft, the Shenzhou VI.

Also on Wednesday, Defense Minister Cao Gangchuan met with Rumsfeld and agreed to upgrade Sino-US military ties.

At a press briefing, both said the talks were "candid", "constructive" and "fruitful."

Responding to a question concerning China's military spending, Cao said China is not vastly increasing military spending as its priority is to develop its economy and improve the livelihood of its people.

According to the adjusted exchange rate of the Renminbi against the US dollar, China's defense budget for this year is US$30.2 billion. "That is the budget figure we have today," Cao said.

Rumsfeld said US-China military ties have encountered some challenges in recent years. However, it offers opportunities to learn from and better understand each other.

He said the two countries' military exchanges and interactions will be mutually beneficial. Both sides have the desire to find ways to increase mutual understanding.

Rumsfeld arrived in Beijing on Tuesday for a three-day visit as Cao's guest. This is his first visit to China as Defense Secretary since he took office in January 2001, and the second by a US Defense Secretary since 2000.

(Xinhua News Agency October 20, 2005)

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