China, US defense chiefs agree to upgrade military ties
Updated: 2005-10-19 21:40
Chinese Defense Minister Cao Gangchuan and his US
counterpart Donald Rumsfeld agreed in their talks on Wednesday to join hands to
upgrade Sino-US military ties and make it consistent with overall bilateral
Secretary Donald Rumsfeld (L) and Chinese Defense Minister Cao Gangchuan
share a light moment as they attend a welcoming ceremony at the Chinese
Defense Ministry in Beijing October 19, 2005.
At a press briefing after their official talks, both said the talks were
"candid", "constructive" and "fruitful."
Cao said China attaches great importance to Rumsfeld's visit, which is a big
event of Sino-US military exchanges.
During the talks, the two officials discussed the future development of
Sino-US state and military relations and international and regional issues of
common concern. Cao said they reached lots of consensus.
"The relations between our two countries are progressing well. We need to
join hands and work hard to make Sino-US military ties consistent with
state-to-state relations," Cao told reporters.
Responding to a question concerning China's military spending, Cao said China
is not vastly increasing military spending as the priority is to develop its
economy and improve the livelihood of the people. It is simply impossible to
massively increase investment in defense building.
According to the newly-adjusted exchange rate between Renminbi and US dollar,
the defense budget of China this year is 30.2 billion US dollars. "That is the
true budget figure we have today," he said.
Rumsfeld said US-China military ties have encountered some challenges in
recent years. However, it offers opportunities to learn from and better
understand each other.
He said the two countries' military exchanges and interactions will be
mutually beneficial. Both sides have the desire to find ways to eliminate sense
of mystery of each other, and increase mutual understanding.
Rumsfeld arrived in Beijing on Tuesday for a three-day visit asa guest of
Cao. This is his first visit to China as defense secretary since he took office
in January 2001, and the second visit by a US defense secretary since