China urges Obama administration to remove military obtacles 2009-01-20 11:03:13   Print

Special Report: Barack Obama: The 44th U.S. President

    By Xinhua writer Xiong Zhengyan

    BEIJING, Jan. 20 (Xinhua) -- With U.S. President-elect Barack Obama's inauguration just hours away, China's military Tuesday urged the new U.S. administration to remove barriers to bilateral military relations.

    "Facing the current difficulties in military relations, we call for the United States to take concrete measures to remove the obstacles," Defense Ministry spokesman Hu Changming said at a press conference upon the release of China's sixth white paper on national defense.

    China-U.S. military ties were strained after the Pentagon announced a $6.5 billion arms deal with Taiwan in October. The deal included 30 Apache attack helicopters and 330 Patriot missiles.

    It was the biggest arms sale to Taiwan since China and the United States signed the "August 17 Communique" in 1982, in which the United States agreed to gradually reduce its arms sales to Taiwan.

    The white paper also criticized the United States for continuing to "sell arms to Taiwan in violation of the principles established in the three Sino-U.S. joint communiques, causing serious harm to Sino-U.S. relations as well as peace and stability across the Taiwan Straits."

    Military contacts between the two countries were active and fruitful before the Taiwan arms sale, Chinese military officers said.

    Apart from frequent exchanges at different levels, the two defense departments set up hotlines and military officials got involved in bilateral strategic talks for the first time last year.

    Last December, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense David Sedney came to Beijing to try to mend strained military ties. The visit didn't produce any substantive result.

    During a visit to Beijing early this month, outgoing U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte met with China's Gen. Ma Xiaotian to discuss how to resume bilateral military exchanges.

    Hu said China always valued military relations with the United States, which were in the common interests of both nations.

    "I noted that President-elect Obama will take office in a few hours and the current U.S. Defense Secretary, Robert Gates, will keep his post.

    "In the new era, I expect the two sides to make joint efforts to create conditions for the continuous improvement and development of bilateral military ties," Hu said.

    "Three decades of China-U.S. ties have proved that their military relations enjoy a solid political foundation only when each other's core interests are respected," Hu said.

Editor: Fang Yang
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