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Gates to Welcome Chinese General

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 14, 2009 – Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates will welcome China’s second-ranking military officer to the nation’s capital Oct. 24, Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell announced here today.

Gen. Xu Caihou will visit Washington and posts and bases throughout the United States during his trip, which will end Oct. 31, Morrell said.

Gates has been trying to foster a strategic dialogue between the two countries since visiting China two years ago. He especially wants military-to-military contacts to establish better trust and transparency, Morrell said.

Xu is to visit a number of U.S. military installations and organizations including the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.; Fort Benning, Ga.; U.S. Strategic Command at Offutt Air Force Base, Neb.; Nellis Air Force Base, Nev.; North Island Naval Air Station in San Diego; and U.S. Pacific Command in Honolulu.

“It’s been two years since the secretary visited China, and we have yet to have a reciprocal visit from what would essentially be his Chinese counterpart,” Morrell said. “We are finally getting that with the arrival of General Xu later this month, and we are very much looking forward to that.”

Better transparency and a more open dialogue leads to better understanding, Morrell said, and officials hope the visit will encourage China to be more transparent about its military spending.

“The more transparency there is, the more dialogue that goes on, the less chance there is for a misunderstanding between two very formidable powers on the world stage,” he said.

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