Warm welcome for VP at Pentagon
Updated: 2012-02-15 15:40
By Wu Jiao and Chen Weihua (China Daily)
WASHINGTON - Defense authorities from China and the United States should respect and accommodate each other's major concerns in a bid to build a healthy, stable and mature military relationship, Chinese Vice-President Xi Jinping said Tuesday during a meeting with top US army officials.
At the Pentagon, joined by US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Xi said the military ties are an important part of bilateral relations, which should obey and serve the overall China-US cooperative partnership.
Xi urged the defense authorities from the two countries to enhance communication, cultivate strategic mutual trust, respect and accommodate each other's major concerns.
The military ties between US and China often suffer setbacks, such as when the US sells arms to Taiwan. The US strategic re-engagement into the Asia-Pacific region, with the US enhancing its military alliances with several regional countries, has added to the tension between the two countries.
Yet the talks between Xi and Panetta on Tuesday began with a warm welcome: a 19-gun salute and an honor guard of 350 troops from each branch of the US military greeted Xi as bands played the Chinese and American national anthems.
The US has never conducted such a ceremony for a foreign vice-president at the Pentagon before, according to the Washington Times.
"The United States and China are Pacific powers . We want to work with China to build an open, transparent and inclusive regional security order," Panetta said.
Pentagon Press Secretary George Little, quoted by the Wall Street Journal, said the two men shared a "wide-ranging discussion" on military and security matters.
"Both agreed that the two militaries should discuss the specifics of a program of future exchanges," he said.
"Diplomats understand each other and business people understand each other much better than our two militaries . That's why I think military to military discussions are very important, to reduce frictions," Brent Scowcroft, a former national security adviser, told China Daily.
Shi Yinhong, a researcher at the China Institute of International Studies, told China Daily, China-US military-to-military tie has improved a lot over 2011, after President Hu Jintao paid his visit to US early last year.
"Xi's meeting with US defense authorities will enhance the improvement, and setup a positive tone for the further military relations."
Zhao Yanrong in Beijing contributed to this story.