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China, US to hold sea consultations in July
By Cui Xiaohuo (
Updated: 2009-06-24 16:37

China and US will hold a special meeting next month to solve their warship disputes at sea, increasingly seen as a thorny issue in Sino-US military ties.

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Lieutenant General Ma Xiaotian, deputy chief of the general staff of the People's Liberation Army announced the discussions would form part of the Sino-US Military Maritime Consultation Agreement meetings, which were established in 1997, in his briefing to reporters after the 10th Sino-US Defense Consultative Talks (DCT) ended in Beijing Wednesday noon at the headquarters of the PLA Central Military Commission, the Army's top command.

The two militaries have been caught up in several sea confrontations since March 8, when the USNS Impeccable, a US surveillance ship was involved in a standoff with Chinese naval and fishing vessels about 120 km south of China's southern-most province of Hainan.

The Lieutenant General, who oversaw the DCT with his US counterpart, told reporters that the activities have hurt China's normal economic activities in the region.

But the two sides did not discuss the latest incident in which a Chinese submarine damaged an underwater sonar array towed by the US destroyer USS John S. McCain on June 11 in the South China Sea, the Lieutenant General said.

"The two sides are still probing into the incident," he said.