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Sino-US defence officials hold talks
(China Daily)
Updated: 2004-02-10 23:56

A senior US military official visiting Beijing yesterday reiterated the US Government's adherence to the one-China policy, and expressed hope of maintaining stability across the Taiwan Straits.

Visiting Undersecretary of Defence Douglas Jay Feith met with Chinese Defence Minister Cao Gangchuan, and said the United States is opposed to any unilateral actions that would change the status quo.

Cao told Feith that nobody is more eager to see a peaceful resolution than the Chinese people.

Feith arrived in Beijing on Monday afternoon for the sixth round of the US-China consultations on defence at the vice-defence ministerial level.

The Chinese side is headed by Xiong Guangkai, deputy chief of the general staff of the Chinese People's Liberation Army.

During yesterday's talks,the sides discussed the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula and maritime security co-operation, according to Chinese defence ministry officials.

Feith said the US and China share common interests on many major international issues.

Cao stressed that conducting defence consultations at vice-defence ministerial level marks a normalization of military exchanges between the two nations, enhancing important bilateral military ties.

Calling the consultation is an "effective mechanism" to promote mutual understanding and trust between the two militaries, Cao said that China hopes to continue future dialogue.

The Chinese defence minister stressed China has always maintained a "positive" attitude towards developing military ties between countries and is willing to work together with the US side for a healthy and steady relationship.

Feith's visit comes on the heels of trips to China last month by Deputy US Secretary of State Richard Armitage and US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Richard Myers.

Myers's visit marked the highest level military exchange since the mid-air collision of a US EP-3 scout plane with a Chinese fighter over the South China Sea in 2001.

The annual consultations between the defence departments of the two countries began in 1997, after then- Chinese President Jiang Zemin and former US President Bill Clinton reached agreement on the consultations during Jiang's visit to the United States. The fifth round was held in December 2002 in Washington, and previous talks were held in Washington and Beijing.

Observers see the flurry of diplomatic activities including military exchanges between the two countries as positive steps for both sides to strengthen mutual understanding on sensitive topics, such as Taiwan question and the Korean crisis.

Taiwan leader Chen Shui-bian has proposed referendums on March 20, which Beijing sees as a dangerous move by Taiwan authorities towards independence.

Chen Yunlin, minister of Taiwan Affairs Office of State Council visited Washington last week.

Myers visited Beijing in January and said the United States and China understood each other on the Taiwan question.

Fu Ying, director of Asian Affairs Department visited Washington last month to prepare for the second round of six-party talks of nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula, which is scheduled to beheld in Beijing on February 25.

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