Thursday, January 20, 2011

U.S., China Affirm Military Ties During Hu Visit To Washington

By Carol L. Bowers
American Forces Press Service

Hu is paying a state visit to the United States Jan. 18 to 21, and the statement came on the second day of his trip, which included meetings with Obama and a joint press conference.

"Both sides agreed on the need for enhanced and substantive dialogue and communication at all levels: to reduce misunderstanding, misperception, and miscalculation; to foster greater understanding and expand mutual interest; and to promote the healthy, stable, and reliable development of the military-to-military relationship," Obama and Hu said in their statement.

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates recently met with Hu in China during a recent tour of East Asia to discuss security issues. Gates attended Hu's arrival ceremony today.

Obama and Hu termed Gates' visit to China "successful" and noted the United States will in turn welcome the Chief of the People's Liberation Army General Staff Gen. Chen Bingde to the United States in the first half of 2011.

In the joint statement, the two sides also reaffirmed that the Defense Consultative Talks, the Defense Policy Coordination Talks, and the Military Maritime Consultative Agreement will remain important channels of communication in the future. Both sides will work to execute the seven priority areas for developing military-to-military relations as agreed to by Gates and Gen. Xu Caihou, vice chairman of the Central Military Commission in October 2009.

During the joint press conference today, Obama said he also has conveyed to the Chinese president "that that we appreciated China's role in reducing tensions on the Korean Peninsula, and we agreed that North Korea must avoid further provocations."

"I also said that North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile program is increasingly a direct threat to the security of the United States and our allies," Obama added. " We agreed that the paramount goal must be complete denuclearization of the peninsula. In that regard, the international community must continue to state clearly that North Korea's uranium enrichment program is in violation of North Korea's commitments and international obligations."

Discussions between Obama and Hu also included other global security issues.

"With respect to global security, I'm pleased that we're moving ahead with President Hu's commitment at last year's Nuclear Security Summit for China to establish a center of excellence, which will help secure the world's vulnerable nuclear materials," Obama said during the press conference.

"To prevent the spread of nuclear weapons, we agreed that Iran must uphold its international obligations and that the U.N. Security Council sanctions on Iran must be fully enforced." 

---------------- "And so the greatest of American triumphs... became a peculiarly joyless victory. We had won the Cold War, but there would be no parades." -- Robert M. Gates, 1996