WASHINGTON, Sept. 13 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. Department of Defense on Thursday said Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta's upcoming visit to China is an opportunity to deepen the engagement of the two militaries.
Speaking at a Pentagon news briefing, Spokesman George Little said Panetta is to visit China during his upcoming tour to the Asia-Pacific region at the invitation of Chinese Defense Minister Liang Guanglie.
"The visit provides an opportunity to deepen military-to- military engagements between China and the United States," as the two countries "continue to work together to establish healthy, stable, reliable and continuous military-to-military ties," Little said.
"We believe it's going to be a very productive and cordial visit, one that will advance our shared goals of a more transparent and even more viable relationship with the Chinese military," Little said.
Panetta's visit follows Liang's trip to Washington in May.
Last month, China's Ministry of National Defense said Panetta's visit to China is part of this year's bilateral military-to- military exchanges, and the two militaries will conduct exchanges on the mechanism for bilateral contact, military academies and other professional fields, and they will hold joint anti-piracy maritime exercises.
Panetta, who will also visit Japan and New Zealand, is leaving this weekend.