China and the United States held high-level talks aimed at improving military
ties, as Beijing announced it would send observers to US-led war games in the
Assistant Secretary of Defense Peter Rodman held one day of meetings with
senior Chinese military officials as part of regular defense talks between the
two nations, a US embassy spokeswoman told AFP, without giving details.
Senior People's Liberation Army officers are
seen in March 2006 in Beijing. China and the United States held high-level
talks aimed at improving military ties, as Beijing announced it would send
observers to US-led war games in the Pacific Ocean.
Zhang Qinsheng, assistant chief of the General Staff of the Chinese People's
Liberation Army, headed the Chinese delegation at the talks, which are held each
year, China's state-run Xinhua news agency said.
Meanwhile, foreign ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao announced that China's
military would send observers to US-led military exercises near the island of
Guam entitled "Valiant Shield 2006" to be held in the middle of this month.
The commander of US forces in the Pacific, Admiral William Fallon, said while
visiting China last month that he had invited his Chinese counterparts to
observe Valiant Shield.
The invitation was part of US efforts to repair military-to-military
relations that were set back after a US Navy plane collided with a Chinese
fighter jet over the South China Sea in 2001, he said.
China had not confirmed before Thursday that it would take up the invitation.
Thursday's developments followed more recent heated exchanges between the two
world powers that have largely stemmed from US allegations over a lack of
transparency in China's robust military build up.
The Pentagon released a report last month that said China's military
modernization posed a credible long-term threat to the United States.
"China's military expansion is already such as to alter regional military
balances," the report said, adding China was spending two to three times more on
its military than the 35 billion dollars a year it had acknowledged.
Beijing strongly protested the report, saying it exaggerated China's military
strength and expenditure and was based on "a Cold War mentality" aimed at
fueling the "China threat theory."
At Tuesday's foreign ministry briefing, Liu also blasted weekend comments by
US Secretary Defense Donald Rumsfeld over the alleged lack of transparency in
the Chinese military.
"We cannot accept the constant criticism from the country which has the
largest military spending in the world," Liu told journalists.
China's official Xinhua news agency quoted Rodman as saying at the opening of
Thursday's talks that the United States was intent in improving bilateral
"The improvement of our military-to-military relations
is necessary because it is an important part of the improvement of our overall
relations," China's official Xinhua news agency quoted Rodman as saying in his