BEIJING, Sept. 18 (Xinhua) -- Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei on Tuesday said China attaches great importance to U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta's visit.
"We attach great importance to Panetta's visit. Sino-U.S. military relations are a crucial part of Sino-U.S. relations," Hong said during a regular press conference.
"We hope to achieve further development in Sino-U.S. military relations, which play a constructive role in bilateral relations," he said.
After his two-day visit to Japan, Panetta arrived in Beijing on Monday evening for his first visit to China as the Pentagon chief.
Hong said mutual benefit is the essence of Sino-U.S. economic and trade relations.
"Divarication and friction are inevitable in the expanding Sino-U.S. economic cooperation. The two sides need to resolve their differences through dialogues and consultations based on mutual respect and benefit," he said when asked about China's attitude toward the United States requiring the World Trade Organization to investigate China's automobile exports.
"We are against politicizing related issues as well as protectionism in trade and investment, which do not bring bilateral benefits," he said.
In regards to the United States helping Japan build an anti-missile system, Hong said, "Anti-missile issues are related to global and regional balance and trust. Any country's national security measures should not be based on damaging the security of others."
"China hopes the U.S. will deal with the issue cautiously, in terms of strategic mutual trust and in terms of maintaining global and regional strategic balance and stability," he said.