US-China agree on visits by military officials in 2011

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Beijing, Dec 12 (ANI): A Chinese Defense Ministry official has said that senior Chinese and US military officials would exchange visits during 2011.

The China Daily quoted Guan Youfei, Deputy Director in the Chinese Foreign ministry as saying that both sides have agreed on the exchange visit plan, in which US Defense Secretary Robert Gates would visit China from January 10 to January 14, 2011, and Chen Bingde, the chief of the General Staff of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA), would visit the United States at a convenient date in the same year.

The decision was taken during a meeting on Friday, which was co-chaired by Ma Xiaotian, Deputy Chief of General Staff of the PLA, and US Under Secretary of Defense Michele Flournoy.

According to Guan, during the talks, both sides exchanged views on relations between the Chinese and US militaries, maritime safety, national defense building and army building, and also some international and regional issues.

Ma and Flournoy reportedly agreed that relations between the two armed forces are an integral part of bilateral ties, and it is important to keep it healthy and stable, and that the two countries' militaries should maintain dialogues and exchanges at various levels to enhance mutual understanding and avoid miscalculations.

Ma said that although the two militaries share a broad range of common interests, the main hurdles are US arms sales to China's Taiwan province, Congress' restrictions on military exchanges between the two countries and US air and sea military surveillance operations in China's exclusive economic zones.

He added that in order to keep the military-to-military ties on a stable development track, both sides need to build their relationship on principles of mutual respect, mutual trust, equality and mutual benefit. (ANI)

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