US official calls for stronger military ties with China

A senior US official has called for stronger military ties with China, despite growing tensions on a number of issues. The visit was to help lay the groundwork for a summit of the two countries’ presidents next month.

US National Security Advisor Tom Donilon wrapped up his two-day visit to the Chinese capital on Tuesday by calling for increased cooperation in what he described as "non-traditional" military activities.
"An essential part of building a new model for relations between great powers is ensuring we have a healthy, stable and reliable military to military relationship," Donilon told reporters after meeting leading Chinese military officer, General Fan Changlong in Beijing.

Donilon suggested that bilateral cooperation in peacekeeping, disaster relief or anti-piracy operations could benefit both countries.

Fan, who is the deputy chairman of China's Central Military Commission, called for "a new type of major power relations."

Neither Donilon nor Fan mentioned any of the issues that have been sources of tension between the two countries, such as a series of cyber attacks that US officials have blamed on China or North Korea's nuclear weapons program.

On Monday, Donilon had met with Chinese President Xi Jinping, who said that relations between the two countries were at "an important stage connecting the past and the future."

Donilon's visit to Beijing was meant to help lay the groundwork for a summit meeting on June 7-8, when US President Barack Obama is to host President Xi in southern California. Neither side has provided details of what the two leaders plan to discuss. This will be their first meeting since President Xi took office back in March.

(AFP, AP, Reuters)