Expanded Sino-US exchanges to stabilize ties

Expanded Sino-US exchanges to stabilize ties
US Secretary of Defence Chuck Hagel(L) responds to a question as he and Chinese Minister of National Defence Gen. Chang Wanquan conduct a media press briefing at the Pentagon August 19, 2013, in Washington, DC.

CHINA/UNITED STATES - China and the United States aim to build more stable military ties by agreeing to expand exchanges and exercises, despite distrust over cybersecurity and recent tensions over territorial issues in waters near China, observers said.

During their meeting at the Pentagon, visiting Chinese Defence Minister Chang Wanquan and US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel spelled out plans for visits to China by senior US officers, counter-piracy drills in the Gulf of Aden and a humanitarian rescue exercise near Hawaii.

Their talks represent efforts by Washington and Beijing to find constructive ways to deal with traditional concerns such as US arms sales to Taiwan, and new difficulties such as cybersecurity.

Chang is leading a military delegation on a four-day visit to the US. After three hours of "candid and in-depth" talks with Hagel on Monday, he said in a news conference that they had reached a five-point consensus to boost ties.

They said they would implement the "new type" of relations between major countries agreed on by Presidents Xi Jinping and Barack Obama during their meeting in June, Chang said.

Hagel hailed the visit by the Chinese delegation as "very productive".

"I think it's fundamental to the efforts that are underway ... to develop relationships, avenues of opportunity for transparency, for understanding each other's intentions far better than we have in the past," he said.

Experts said that despite China's attempts to overcome its past sense of rivalry with the US, Washington remains reluctant to redefine bilateral ties as a "new type of military relationship".

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