Gates criticizes Chinese military for blocking talks in Beijing

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Singapore, June 4 (ANI): US Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates on Thursday accused China's military of impeding relations with the Pentagon, taking exception to its unwillingness to invite him to Beijing during his trip to Asia this week.

Gates told reporters here there was a clear split between China's political leaders, whom he said want stronger military ties with Washington, and the People's Liberation Army, which he said does not.

"I think they are reluctant to engage with us on a broad level. The PLA is significantly less interested in this relationship than the political leadership of China," the Washington Post quoted him as saying before his arrival in Singapore.

Beijing's political and economic relations with Washington have gradually improved in recent years, but military cooperation has lagged.

This has been a source of frustration for Pentagon officials.

They say that communication with the People's Liberation Army needs to improve to deal with regional crises-such as South Korea's accusation that one of its warships was torpedoed by a North Korean submarine last month, and to broader strategic issues such as the long-term buildup of China's military forces. (ANI)

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