General Guo Boxiong arrived in Los Angeles on Sunday for a visit to the US, the latest sign that the two nations are boosting their military relations through exchange of high-level visits.
In a written statement released upon his arrival, Guo, vice chairman of China's Central Military Commission, said that China and the US share extensive mutual strategic interests and a good basis for cooperation and that both sides have willingness and needs to further exchange and cooperation.
Calling the two countries not only stakeholders but also constructive partners, Guo said a better Sino-US relationship would be strategically important in maintaining and promoting peace, stability and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region as well as in the whole world.
Guo stressed that China-US relations are progressing well after President Hu Jintao and US President George W. Bush reached consensus on how to promote the constructive cooperation between the two sides in all areas for the 21st century during Hu's US visit in April.
According to Guo, military relations between the two countries are showing favorable momentum after the two presidents agreed to further expand exchange and cooperation between the two armed forces, setting the course for the development of bilateral military ties.
As a move to materialize the presidential consensus for closer military ties, Guo said his current visit is aimed at boosting mutual understanding, trust and friendship between the two armed forces through meeting with US administration and military leaders.
Invited by US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Guo is on a week-long visit which would take him to Pentagon and military bases and institutions in the US.
During his stay in Washington, Guo is expected to hold talks with Rumsfeld on a wide range of issues, including international and regional security, and bilateral military ties. He will also meet with other members of the US administration.
An exchange mechanism of multi-level officers between the two armed forces are currently in place, as military institutions from the two sides have regular exchange programs.
Guo is the highest-ranking military officer from China to visit the US since 2001, when the two countries cut their military ties after a Chinese fighter aircraft was damaged by a US surveillance plane over the South China Sea.
Rumsfeld became the first foreign military leader to visit the People's Liberation Army's Second Artillery Force headquarters in Beijing last October, when he made his first China visit since taking office in 2001.
(Xinhua News Agency July 18, 2006)