Earlier today, Secretary of Defense Ash Carter met with Vice Chairman of the Central Military Commission Gen. Fan Changlong in the Pentagon. Secretary Carter stressed his commitment to developing a sustained and substantive U.S.-China military-to-military relationship based on a shared desire to deepen practical, concrete cooperation in areas of mutual interest, including humanitarian assistance and disaster response, peacekeeping, military medicine, counter-piracy, and constructive management of differences.
Secretary Carter and Gen. Fan exchanged views on key issues of mutual concern including military-to-military relations, regional security, and maritime issues, including land reclamation in the South China Sea. Secretary Carter reiterated U.S. concerns on the South China Sea, and called on China and all claimants to implement a lasting halt on land reclamation, cease further militarization, and pursue a peaceful resolution of territorial disputes in accordance with international law.
Secretary Carter reaffirmed his commitment to reach consensus on the air-to-air annex to the Rules of Behavior for the Safety of Air and Maritime Encounters Memorandum of Understanding by September of this year. This annex will reduce the risk of miscalculation or accidents when the two countries' aircraft operate in close proximity.
The secretary was pleased that the signing of the U.S.-China Army-to-Army Dialogue Mechanism framework document would be witnessed by Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Raymond T. Odierno and Gen. Fan on Friday, June 12. This framework will open a new channel for leaders in our two armies to raise and discuss issues of mutual concern such as humanitarian assistance and disaster response practices.
During this visit the two sides have agreed that our countries would renew efforts to account for missing U.S. military personnel in China. An existing 2008 agreement to search for information relating to U.S. military personnel missing in action before, during, and after the Korean War will now be expanded to include personnel from the Second World War, Cold War, Korean War, and Vietnam War.