Chinese Defense Minister Liang Guanglie has begun a landmark six-day visit to the United States. His visit is expected to help reduce misunderstandings between two of the world's largest economies and military powers.
Before wrapping up his visit on May 10, Liang will meet U.S. state and military leaders, and hold a joint press conference with his U.S. counterpart Leon Panetta.
Visiting Chinese Defense Minister Liang Guanglie has said his trip aims at implementing the consensus the two countries reached on building steady military ties.
This is the first visit by a Chinese defense minister to the U.S. in nine years. During the week-long trip, Liang will visit the Pentagon and meet with U.S. government and military leaders.
Last January, Chinese President Hu Jintao and U.S. President Barack Obama reached a consensus on building a partnership based on mutual respect and benefit. In February this year, Vice President Xi Jinping visited the U.S. and scaled then Sino-U.S. cooperative partnership to a new development stage. Liang's visit is to implement their achievements and push forward the development of bilateral and military ties.
Upon arriving in the U.S., Liang set the tone for his visit by stressing the two nations' vast common interests.
That was also the message sent at the China-U.S. Strategic and Economic Dialogue, where the two countries' leaders dismissed fears of clashes. President Hu said, "Through hard work on both sides, common understanding and progress have already been achieved."
Liang will tour the U.S. Southern Command, Fort Benning of the U.S. Army, Naval Base San Diego, the 4th Fighter Wing of U.S. Air Force, II Marine Expeditionary Force of U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Military Academy at West Point, according to the Chinese Defense Ministry.
The specific agenda for his first two days is not open to the media. But it's widely expected that arms sales to Taiwan and the South China Sea issue will dominate the discussion.
For China, these include the U.S. arms sale to Taiwan, its warships' large scale and frequent surveillance of China's coastal waters and its discriminating laws against China such as limits on high tech exports to China and now the South China Sea issue.
In 2009, military tie was interrupted due to the U.S. arms sale to Taiwan.
In January, 2011, the U.S. defense secretary's visit to China improved the military relations.
In May, 2011, the Chinese People's Liberation Army Chief of General Staff visited the U.S. and promoted the establishment of a new type military to military relation in the second decade of the 21st century.
In July, 2011, the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff visited China and reached five agreements. Both sides agreed to promote development of military to military relations and strengthen cooperation to deal with global security challenges.
(CNTV.cn May 7, 2012)