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China Pleased with Increased US Ties - 2002-12-12

China says it is pleased with increased military ties with the United States and the high-level talks between Chinese and American defense officials this week in Washington.

Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Liu Jianchao says that China's renewed military contact with the United States demonstrates a commitment on both sides to put aside their differences and focus on security concerns. Mr. Liu told reporters in Beijing that high-level defense talks are building good momentum between the two sides. He says China has always been very positive toward relations between the two militaries, and will work with the United States to improve cooperation further.

People's Liberation Army General Xiong Guangkai confers with U-S defense officials in Washington this week. The meetings are part of a series of military talks set up after Chinese President Jiang Zemin's October meeting with President Bush in Texas. Mr. Liu says the commander of the U.S. Pacific Command, Admiral Thomas Fargo, is also visiting four cities in China this week.

Washington suspended high-level military-to-military contact with Beijing following a diplomatic standoff over the collision of a U.S. surveillance plane and a Chinese fighter jet in April 2001. But Sino-U.S. tensions began easing after the terrorist attacks on the United States in September 2001, when Washington and Beijing began new cooperation to fight global terrorist threats.