A top Chinese military officer says China never intends to challenge the United States military.
General Chen Bingde, chief of staff of China's People's Liberation Army, told an audience of U.S. military officers in Washington Wednesday that there is a huge gap between the Chinese and the United States. He says China does not have the capability to challenge the United States.
Later at the Pentagon, Chen told reporters that American weapons sales to Taiwan would affect Chinese-U.S. relations. He said how bad the impact would be depends on the types of weapons sold.
Chen calls the U.S. law requiring weapons sales to Taiwan an interference in Chinese domestic affairs.
The head of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen, says he and Chen spent most of their talks trying to understand each other's views. He said the United States and China cannot wait until there is a crisis to understand each other.
Mullen said he looks forward to visiting China in the near future.
China temporarily cut-off military contacts with the United States last year after Washington announced $6.4 billion in arms sales to Taiwan. Congress is also considering approval of F-16 fighter jet sales to Taiwan. Mullen said the United States supports a one-China policy and wants peaceful reunification of Taiwan and the Chinese mainland. But he said the Obama adminsitration must follow the law.
Taiwan split from mainland China in 1949 after the communists seized power from the nationalists. China has threatened to use force against the island if it formally declares independence.
Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.