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US General: US-Chinese Military Ties Progressing Well

Military relations between the United States and China are progressing well, the United States' most senior general said in Beijing Thursday.  

Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the US armed forces, said his visit was "one more step" in developing military exchanges.


It is the first visit of such a senior US military official since November 2000.


During his two-day visit, Myers met with Jiang Zemin, chairman of the Chinese Central Military Commission (CMC), CMC Vice Chairman Guo Boxiong, and Cao Gangchuan, CMC vice chairman and minister of defense, and Liang Guanglie, chief of the general staff of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA).


According to the US Embassy to China, the visit by Myers is one of a series of military exchanges, which include high-level visits, trust-building measures and specialist exchanges. These activities aim to enhance military relations through dialogue.


Myers said the United States aimed to build a constructive and stable relationship with China and so the exchanges between militaries, including military schools, were very important.


Economic exchanges continued to grow, requiring a stable environment, he said.


He had invited his Chinese counterpart, Liang Guanglie, to visit the United States at the end of this year and the US Under Secretary for Policy of the Department of Defense Douglas Jay Feith would visit China next month to attend the defense consultative meeting of the two countries.


A US Navy vessel and junior officers would also visit China soon, he said, and more exchanges would be listed such as joint exercises and humanitarian assistance.


Myers said he also discussed the Taiwan issue and both sides had a good understanding of each other's position.


US President George W. Bush had stated the US position very clearly during his meeting with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao last December in Washington DC, that the US government adhered to the One-China policy, was committed to the three Sino-US Joint Communiques and opposed Taiwan independence. This policy would not change and the United States opposed any unilateral attempt to change the status quo of Taiwan.


"The United States strongly believes the Taiwan question can be solved peacefully," said Myers.


This was the first important activity of Sino-US military exchanges in 2004, a Chinese spokesman said.


The Chinese government attached great importance to Myers' visit, hoping it would promote mutual understanding and expand consensus between the Chinese and US armed forces and enhance the sound development of military relations, he said.


(Xinhua News Agency January 16, 2004)

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