China-US military ties impasse set to end

New Delhi, Oct 12 (ANI): To end an impasse over military ties between China and the US, Defense Minister Liang Guanglie has invited his American counterpart Robert Gates to visit Beijing, which has been accepted.

China broke off military relations in January over the US' plans to sell Taiwan more than six billion dollars worth of arms, including Blackhawk helicopters and Patriot missiles.

Liang met US Defence Secretary Robert Gates in Hanoi on Monday ahead of an inaugural meeting of Asia-Pacific defense ministers.

Gates accepted the invitation, said Guan Youfei, deputy director of the foreign affairs office of the Defense Ministry.

During the first talks between the two nations' top military officials for about a year, Liang stressed how seriously Beijing takes the arms sale to Taiwan, while Gates asked China for continuous military exchanges and expressed the wish that "politics will not impact military relations".

They held the 50-minute talks before a session of defense ministers of 10 Southeast Asian nations and regional powers to begin on Tuesday, the China Daily reports.

In June, China rejected a proposal for a visit by Gates, saying it will invite him "at a proper time".

Liang said military relations constitute an important part of bilateral relations, which are of increasing global influence.

Gates told Liang he hoped military ties with Beijing "will not be decided by the discrepancies but by mutual interests and responsibilities." (ANI)

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