US defense secretary to visit China

Updated: 2012-08-30 23:48


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BEIJING -- United States Defense Secretary Leon Panetta will visit China in mid-September, the spokesman for China's Ministry of National Defense said Thursday.

The Pentagon chief's visit, which follows his Chinese counterpart General Liang Guanglie's visit to Washington in May, is part of this year's bilateral military-to-military exchanges, Senior Colonel Geng Yansheng, the spokesman, told a press conference.

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, Geng said.

Panetta's visit will come after US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visits China on September 4 and 5.

According to Geng, Defense Minister Liang Guanglie is visiting Sri Lanka, India and Laos from August 29 to September 9, during which Liang will meet with state leaders, defense officials and military leaders of the three countries.

Liang's visit to Sri Lanka will be the first for a Chinese defense minister, and his visit to India will mark the first such visit in eight years.