SEC. GATES: Thank you all – (audio break). I’ve had a really good week here in China, a few days, good meetings. The hospitality could not have been warmer. I think that the discussions were very productive and set the stage for taking the military-to-military relationship to the next level.
I had a good visit to the 2nd Artillery Corps this morning, very candid conversations. I invited General Jiang to visit STRATCOM and he has accepted and we will work that out. And I think this is part of the step-by-step process of building this relationship. And it seems entirely fitting that it end in an extraordinary place like this. I was last at the wall in 1980. It still is awesome as then, although it hasn’t changed much, but it seems a great and fitting end to what I consider a very successful visit.
Q: Mr. Secretary, did you receive any assurances or learn anything about China’s nuclear strategic intents or strategy in general?
SEC. GATES: There was a discussion of nuclear strategy and the – their overall approach to conflict. We talked about their no-first-use policy. We talked about command and control. So I felt like – and several other subjects, so I felt like it was a pretty wide ranging conversation, pretty open.
Q: Mr. Secretary, at the beginning of this trip you signaled the priority of building weapons that could be used against China for anti-access. At the end of the trip you signaled your concern at the possible rift between the PLA and the civilian leadership. So how is it successful in terms of building confidence between China and the U.S.?
SEC. GATES: Well, I don’t think I’ve talked about a rift as much as I did the fact – the simple fact, as was communicated, that the civilian leadership seemed surprised by the test and assured me that it had nothing to do with my visit.
What came across to me is that both the civilian and the military leadership seemed determined to carry this relationship further and build upon it. Are there those who have issues with it? Possibly, but I certainly didn’t meet them on my trip. And I’m very encouraged going forward.
Q: Mr. Secretary, now you’re heading to your ally, Japan. Japan and the U.S. have planned to issue a joint vision this spring, I believe. To what extent does the Okinawa basing issue has to proceed to make that vision come true?
SEC. GATES: Well, I think they’re independent. Obviously we want to see these decisions implemented, but it has been I think since 2005 since there was a joint vision statement and a lot’s happened in the last six years, including the fact that we have a new president and Japan has a new government and a lot has happened in the world in the last six years. So I think it’s timely to look at the alliance and update it, if you will, going forward. But the alliance, the one thing that continues is the strength of the alliance.
MR. GEOFF MORRELL: Okay. Thank you all.
SEC. GATES: Okay. Thank you.