Foreign and Military Affairs

Chinese military chief to visit US in May

Updated: 2011-04-27 03:35


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BEIJING - Chen Bingde, chief of the general staff of the Chinese People's Liberation Army, will visit the United States in May, China's Ministry of Defense said late Tuesday.

"I will visit the United States next month at the invitation of Mike Mullen, Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff," Chen told a visiting US congress delegation without announcing specific date.

"I look forward to having an in-depth and candid discussion with US political and military leaders on bilateral military relations and other issues of common concern."

The US delegation was led by Charles Boustany and Rick Larsen, co-chairmen of the US-China Working Group (USCWG) of the US Congress, a group focused on educating members and staff about US-China issues through meetings and briefings with academic, business and political leaders from the United States and China.

According to a release from the ministry, in his meeting with the delegation, Chen reviewed the successful state visit to the United States by Chinese President Hu Jintao in January, saying the important consensus between Hu and his US counterpart Barack Obama -- building a partnership of mutual respect and win-win -- showed the direction for bilateral military relations.

"The relations between our armed forces face good opportunities now," Chen said.

However, Chen stressed that US arms sales to Taiwan was the "largest obstacle" in bilateral military relations.

"Given that historic changes have taken place in international strategic arena, the positioning of China-US relations and the mainland-Taiwan relations, China hopes the United States would look at the arms sales issue from a broader perspective and take effective measures to rid it," said Chen.

Chen also praised USCWG's long commitment in promoting China-US relations and increasing the US congress and people's understanding of China.

Boustany and Larsen acknowledged the importance of bilateral relationship, saying the two countries shared extensive mutual interests despite different political and cultural traditions.

"A stable, reliable military relationship is an important component of China-US ties. Both sides should keep dialogue and exchanges and strengthen mutual understanding and trust," the two congressmen said, adding that USCWG will continue to advance relations.

After the delegation's visit to Beijing, they will visit the coastal city of Qingdao in East China and Chengdu, capital of Southwest China's Sichuan province.


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