Sino-US defence policy talks set for next week

Sino-US defence policy talks set for next week
China's President Xi Jinping, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and U.S. President Barack Obama at the G20 Summit in Brisbane on Nov 15, 2014.

Defence officials from China and the United States will meet in Washington DC next week for policy talks, the Pentagon said late on Thursday.

The talks follow speculation that Washington will temporarily halt military exchanges with China for fear of exposing critical elements of its strategy.

Pentagon spokesman Jeff Pool said the US delegation to next week's talks will include representatives from the Joint Staff, US Pacific Command, the State Department and the National Security Council, while the Chinese delegation will include representatives of the Ministry of National Defence and other military bodies.

Pool said the Defence Policy Coordination Talks seek to foster sustained and substantive dialogue, deepen practical cooperation in areas of mutual interest, and focus on enhancing risk reduction.

Su Hao, a professor of Asia-Pacific studies at China Foreign Affairs University, said, "China should put forward its concerns to the US during the meeting." Su added that the US has carried out several military activities, including exercises, that obviously targeted China.

Announcement of the talks follows a US media report that the Pentagon would not agree to a major new military exchange until the two countries agreed on rules for airborne encounters.

Yang said "positive momentum has been maintained in mutual military exchanges in the new year"-a reference to this month's joint military exercises in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, and Haikou, Hainan province.

A senior US navy officer told Reuters on Thursday that the US would welcome a Japanese extension of air patrols into the South China Sea to counter a growing fleet of Chinese vessels pushing Beijing's territorial claims in the region.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying addressed the remarks at a news conference on Friday and said countries outside the region should stop stirring up tension.

"China and the ASEAN countries have the willingness and capability to safeguard peace and stability in the South China Sea," Hua said.

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