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US Military Visit Increased Understanding, says China

China says a visit by a senior American military commander has increased understanding between the two countries.

Admiral Thomas Fargo, the commander of U.S. forces in the Pacific, wrapped up his five-day visit on Tuesday by visiting a navy base and watching the Chinese army train in Shanghai.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao told reporters in Beijing that during his trip, Admiral Fargo met with senior Chinese defense and Foreign Ministry officials.

Mr. Liu said Admiral Fargo and Chinese officials discussed Sino-American military ties, as well as the issue of Taiwan, which China considers a rebellious province. Beijing claims the right to use force to recover the island, while the United States has pledged to help Taiwan defend itself in the event of attack.

Mr. Liu says the talks were frank and friendly, and contributed to greater understanding between the two countries.

In Shanghai, Admiral Fargo described his trip as a step toward improving military ties.

Admiral Fargo is the highest-ranking American commander to visit China since early last year, when Washington suspended high-level military contacts after a U.S. navy plane and a Chinese fighter jet collided over the South China Sea.

The two sides blamed each other for the accident, which resulted in the death of the Chinese pilot. China held the crew of the American surveillance plane for more than a week.

The commander is one of a series of senior U.S. officials to visit China in recent weeks - an indication of the general warming of ties between the two countries since last September's terrorist attacks on the United States.