The Department of Defense announce today that Gen. Yu Yongbo, a member of the China's Central Military Commission, the body controlling China's 2.5 million man army, will head a delegation on a visit to the United States, Oct. 25 - Nov 4.
As director of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) General Political Department (GPD), Yu is responsible for political education, welfare and morale of PLA officers and troops. This visit, his first to the United States, will be hosted by Under Secretary of Defense Bernard Rostker on behalf of Secretary William S. Cohen. Yu's visit is part of DoD's program to build mutual confidence and trust between American and Chinese armed forces. He will be the highest-ranking PLA official visiting the United States this year. China hosted Cohen this past July.
Yu is responsible for PLA officer development, education and management. All general officer promotions pass through his office before being submitted to the Central Military Commission for approval. In addition to personnel, his portfolio includes civil-military relations (including PLA support to domestic natural disasters), the PLA military legal system, and a large portion of the PLA's system of educational institutions. Yu, as the PLA's top political commissar, is an influential individual in the PLA command structure.
To better understand how the average American servicemember lives, Yu has asked to visit ordinary military bases to see what support structure exists for health, welfare, morale, legal, entertainment, and religious services. Yu and his delegation will be visiting bases around the United States (West Point, N.Y; Bolling AFB, Washington, D.C.; Fort Jackson, S.C. and Patrick AFB, Fla.) to view life in the services. He will also do some sightseeing, viewing popular tourist sites and monuments. He will conclude his visit in Hawaii where he will visit the U.S. Pacific Command.
Military engagement with the People's Republic of China and the PLA, managed on behalf of the secretary of Defense by the under secretary of Defense for Policy, supports our state-to-state relationship, which is driven by our national interests - peace, stability, economic development and the promotion of democracy. Such visits are designed to promote understanding and prevent miscalculations between our two militaries.