Rumsfeld, Top Chinese Officer Discuss North Korea, Other Issues
By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, July 18, 2006 Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld hosted China's senior military officer here today to build on the growing U.S.-China military relationship and discuss issues of mutual interest, including North Korea.
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Marine Gen. Peter Pace (left) and Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld (second from left) meet with Gen. Guo Boxiong, vice chairman of the Central Military Commission of the People's Republic of China at the Pentagon July 18. Photo by Staff Sgt. Gary Hilliard, USA
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Gen. Guo Boxiong, vice chairman of China's Central Military Commission, visited the Pentagon today as part of his first visit to the United States.
Guo and Rumsfeld spent about an hour and a half talking about a wide range of issues, from North Korea's nuclear program to plans for the two countries to participate in a search-and-rescue exercise, a senior defense official told Pentagon reporters following the meeting.
That exercise is expected to take place later this year within the context of the Military Maritime Consultative Agreement, the official said.
Rumsfeld and Guo also discussed U.S. interest in repatriating remains of missing U.S. servicemembers lost over Chinese territory, the official said. Among them is a former comrade of Rumsfeld, Lt. James Deane Jr., a Navy pilot whose plane was shot down off the China coast in August 1956.
The secretary also urged Guo to participate in the sessions of the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies in Hawaii as well as the annual Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, both of which promote regional understanding and cooperation. China opts out of both sessions due to Taiwan's participation, the official said.
Today's visit reaffirmed commitments expressed by both U.S. and Chinese leaders and their mutual interest in promoting military-to-military relations, the official told reporters.
Rumsfeld and Chinese Defense Minister Cao Gangchuan agreed to that goal and committed to bringing the U.S.-China defense relationship up to par with progress in the political and economic realms during Rumsfeld's three-day trip to China in October 2005.
President Bush and Chinese President Hu Jintao reaffirmed this commitment in April, agreeing to step up cooperation and provide a more unified front against terrorism, North Korea's and Iran's nuclear programs, and other global security threats.
Guo began his visit yesterday with a tour of the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier and the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing in San Diego.
He was scheduled to meet with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice later today and to attend a dinner tonight hosted by Marine Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Guo will deliver a speech tomorrow here at the National Defense University and will visit the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., July 20, before two days of cultural activities and meetings in New York City, a defense official said.