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China offers nuclear assurance to Rumsfeld
Updated: 2005-10-20 20:02

Rumsfeld aides who were present during the discussions quoted Jing as saying it was "completely groundless" to say China was targeting any country with its strategic nuclear forces.

Rumsfeld gives a speech to the students at the Military Science Academy in Beijing, on Thursday.
Rumsfeld gives a speech to the students at the Military Science Academy in Beijing, on Thursday. [newsphoto]

Jing's operations chief, Senior Col. Kang Hong Gui, gave Rumsfeld a briefing, complete with Microsoft PowerPoint graphics, on the command's structure and missile forces training, without details about the numbers of Chinese missiles.

Later, in a meeting with Rumsfeld at the Great Hall of the People, President Hu Jintao said the visit to the Second Artillery headquarters and Rumsfeld's other discussions in Beijing will "help the military forces of our two countries to better enhance their mutual understanding and friendship."

Hu and Rumsfeld also discussed President Bush's planned visit to Beijing in November, and they agreed to speed up plans to increase military educational exchanges, a goal Bush has endorsed.

On his first visit to China as defense secretary, Rumsfeld delivered an address to the Central Party School and fielded questions from several students and faculty members.

Chinese officials required U.S. reporters to leave the room after the initial exchange, as planned.

Later, at a joint news conference at the Ministry of Defense, Rumsfeld's counterpart, Gen. Cao Gangchuan, said U.S.-China relations are strong, although he noted that it had been five years since an American secretary of defense visited China. He called Rumsfeld's visit a "big event."
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