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U.S., China Seek to Resume Military-to-Military Cooperation

By Kathleen T. Rhem
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 10, 2002 – U.S. and Chinese officials want to renew the two countries' military-to-military cooperation, which had been cut off since April 2001.

Chinese Gen. Xiong Guangkai, deputy chief of the General Staff of the People's Liberation Army, met with Undersecretary for Policy Douglas Feith at the Pentagon Dec. 9 to discuss issues including military ties, U.N. work in Iraq, North Korea's nuclear weapons program, Taiwan and proliferation.

The United States severed military ties with China after an incident involving a mid-air collision between a Chinese fighter jet and an American EP-3 surveillance plane. The plane made an emergency landing on the Chinese island of Hainan, where the 24-member crew was held for several days.

This is the first high-level meeting of defense officials since.

In a news conference after the meeting, officially called Defense Consultative Talks, Feith said the United States is interested in military-to-military exchanges that would increase both countries' understanding of each other.

"The principal interest is in reducing the risks of mistake, miscalculation, misunderstanding," Feith said, noting such exchanges are all about gaining insights.

"It doesn't mean we'll necessarily agree on everything, but it at least means we're making our policies on the basis of accurate information," he added.

The United States had requested the Chinese delegation prepare a list of suggested venues for military-to-military exchanges. Xiong delivered such a list during the talks. Feith said U.S. officials will be reviewing the list to see if the suggestions are feasible and not just "showcase" events that wouldn't lead to any real insight.

Feith said the U.S. delegation also urged China "to live up to its proliferation commitments." U.S. officials have expressed concern over China's "historical support" to North Korea's missile program.

He said the Chinese assured him they are not providing missile technology to North Korea. He also said he assured the Chinese that the U.S. missile defense program doesn't threaten them.

The U.S. relationship with Taiwan has long been a sticking point between the United States and China. Feith said it was unfortunate, but not unexpected, that the Chinese "did not renounce the use of force to resolve the Taiwan conflict."

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DoD News Transcript: Under Secretary Feith Media Roundtable On U.S. China Defense Consultative Talks, Dec. 9, 2002

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