China, US trade barbs over military ties

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New Delhi, June 7 (ANI): Chinese and US military officers have blamed each other for worsening military relations at a security meeting in Singapore that ended on Sunday.

"The barrier between China-US military relations is not set up by China," Ma Xiaotian, deputy chief of the General Staff of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA), said at a question-and-answer session of the 9th Asian Security Summit, known as the Shangri-La Dialogue conference, on Saturday.

He listed some major obstacles to military relations, such as arms sales to Taiwan and frequent espionage activities by US ships and aircraft in the waters and airspace of China's exclusive economic zones.

US Defense Secretary Robert Gates seemed unfazed, urging Beijing to accept the "reality" that Washington is committed to arming Taiwan.

"It has been clear to everyone during the more than 30 years since normalization that interruptions in our military relationship with China will not change United States policy toward Taiwan," the China Daily quoted Gates, as telling the conference.

China put military contacts on hold after the Barack Obama administration notified Congress in January of a plan to sell Taiwan up to 6.4 billion dollars worth of arms.

Last week, the PLA turned down a proposed fence-mending visit by Gates during his trip to Asia. (ANI)

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