U.S.-China Consultative Talks Under Way in Pentagon
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Dec. 3, 2007 The United States-Peoples’ Republic of China Defense Consultative Talks got under way at the Pentagon today in the shadow of China’s refusal to let U.S. ships make port calls in Hong Kong.
Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said Eric S. Edelman, undersecretary of defense for policy, and Lt. Gen. Ma Xiaotian, the People’s Liberation Army’s deputy chief of general staff for foreign affairs, were slated to discuss U.S.-Chinese defense relations, regional and global defense issues, the global war on terror and missile defense.
The two were to discuss U.S.-Chinese defense relations, regional and global defense issues, and the global war on terror and missile defense. “The United States Defense Department continues to maintain a strong dialogue and continues to seek ways to strengthen the military-to-military relationship” with China, Whitman said.
Whitman would not comment on other areas of discussion, but noted that the dispute over the USS Kitty Hawk visit did not cause the United States to postpone or cancel the Chinese visit.
Chinese authorities refused permission for the USS Kitty Hawk carrier battle group to make a port visit to Hong Kong over the Thanksgiving holiday. The Chinese also refused to allow two U.S. Navy minesweepers to seek refuge from a storm in Hong Kong’s harbor.
U.S. authorities did not let the incidents affect the consultative talks, an annual meeting that has been scheduled for months, defense officials said. “The United States Defense Department values this relationship and will try to strengthen it through our dialogue with our Chinese counterparts,” Whitman said.