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Immediate Release

Readout of Secretary of Defense Ash Carter's Meeting With People's Republic of China's Minister of National Defense, General Chang Wanquan in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Nov. 3, 2015

Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook provided the following readout:


Secretary of Defense Ash Carter held a bilateral meeting today with the Minister of National Defense of the People's Republic of China (PRC) General Chang Wanquan in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Defense Ministers' Meeting-Plus (ADMM-Plus).


Secretary Carter opened the meeting by reaffirming the U.S. rebalance to the Asia-Pacific, which he said preserves the peace, stability, and openness of the region. He said military-to-military relations can contribute to regional understanding.


During the discussion, the secretary identified two security issues still affecting U.S.-China relations: tensions in the South China Sea and disagreements in cyberspace. The secretary reiterated that the U.S. takes no position on maritime disputes in the South China Sea, which he said should be resolved peacefully. He called on all parties to permanently halt reclamation and militarization activities, and noted President Xi's statement during his recent state visit that China is "committed to respecting and upholding the freedom of navigation and overflight that countries enjoy according to international law," and that "China does not intend to pursue militarization." The secretary affirmed to the minister that the U.S. will continue to defend the principle of freedom of navigation, and will continue to fly, sail, and operate wherever international law allows.


Regarding cyberspace, Secretary Carter expressed U.S. concerns about cyber threats to companies and citizens. He reiterated U.S. support for the common understanding reached between President Obama and President Xi that both governments will work together to investigate cyber incidents, promote appropriate norms of state behavior in cyberspace, and refrain from conducting or knowingly supporting the cyber-enabled theft of intellectual property.


At the close of the 40-minute meeting, Secretary Carter accepted a previous invitation from President Xi to visit China. The two sides agreed to work out the details for a visit next spring.