China, US officials discuss defence ties

China, US officials discuss defence ties
U.S. Defense Secretary Hagel and China's Minister of National Defense General Chang.

The defence chiefs of China and the United States had their second meeting within 10 days on Wednesday on the sidelines of a regional defence ministers meeting in Brunei, a gesture observers said shows a growing momentum of frank interaction.

Beijing and Washington should maintain dialogue on multilateral occasions to "accumulate mutual trust and increase positive energy for ties between the two militaries", Defence Minister Chang Wanquan told his US counterpart Chuck Hagel.

The two posed together for pictures before a gala dinner for the ASEAN Defence Ministers' Meeting-Plus in Bandar Seri Begawan on Wednesday night. Chang travelled to the US in mid-August and talked with the US Secretary of Defence at the Pentagon on Aug 19.

The two countries should "make tangible efforts to take care of each other's concerns", and strengthen positive interactions within the multilateral mechanisms of defence and security affairs, Chang said.

Hagel echoed Chang's proposals and stressed the importance of enhancing communication between the defence authorities and their senior officials.

Zhao Jingfang, a professor at the National Defence University PLA, said expanding the scope of dialogue and seeking more talks on multilateral occasions, such as the ASEAN defence minister's summit, are "beneficial for enhancing mutual trust".

"In the past, Sino-US military communications focused on bilateral mechanisms and meetings," Zhao said.

The importance of strengthening dialogue has also been underlined as the region has witnessed a growing number of US military joint drills in recent years as well as Washington rebalances its Asia strategy.

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