China, US discuss defense issues, despite suspension in military exchanges

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Beijing, Sep 3 (ANI): A senior Chinese general met with the head of a leading U.S. think tank and discussed the building of strong military ties between both countries, despite military exchanges between the two nations having been frozen since January.

"A sound and stable China-U.S. military relationship is good for bilateral strategic trust and regional peace and stability," Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Ma Xiaotian told John Hamre, the president of the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).

Hamre served as the U.S. deputy secretary of defense during the Clinton administration before joining CSIS in 2000. He is on a visit to China at the invitation of the Chinese think tank, the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations, for an academic symposium.

According to Xinhua, Hamre further stated that it is necessary for militaries of both countries to maintain candid communication to keep stable military relations.

"Stronger military-to-military ties will be a very good thing for the two countries...We should have broader and deeper contact," Hamre added.

Hamre is scheduled to meet with another senior Chinese general, Xu Caihou, next Monday.

The meetings between the Chinese generals and Hamre are a rare occurrence as China cut off some military exchange programs with the United States after Pentagon decided in January to sell a nearly 6.4-billion-U.S.-dollar arms package to Taiwan, an inalienable part of China. (ANI)

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