US Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Mike Mullen said yesterday that he has been given unprecedented access to China's navy, including naval exercises, and that his ongoing visit to the country is productive.
Addressing a press briefing, Admiral Mullen said: "I'm very encouraged about the commitment made by Chinese defense and foreign policy officials to continue improving the relationship, (and though) there is a long way to go, I'm reassured."
During his weeklong trip that began on August 17, Mullen visited Beijing and the naval facilities at Lushun, Qingdao and Ningbo, and addressed students of the Dalian Naval Academy.
"To get on a destroyer and see an exercise that included air, submarine and surface exercises was a first for a US Naval officer," he said, hinting that he would continue to improve ties if he took over as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
His trip follows Chinese navy chief Vice-Admiral Wu Shengli's visit to the US in April.
Mullen appreciated the chance his visit offered to carry forward his discussions with Wu and other senior Chinese military and civilian leaders.
They discussed issues of mutual concern, including increased contacts between the two navies at all levels.
He said growing interaction between the two militaries will help avoid misunderstandings and miscalculations. It's really important that we reach a better mutual understanding.
(China Daily August 22, 2007)