Phil Stewart and Ben Blanchard
January 10, 2011
(Reuters) – Defense Secretary Robert Gates and his Chinese counterpart said on Monday stronger military ties were needed to avoid missteps between the two global giants, whose forces have pushed up against each other in Asia.
Gates is in China on a bridge-building trip a week ahead of Chinese President Hu Jintao’s visit to the United States for a January 19 summit with President Barack Obama.
U.S. and Chinese military ties were curtailed for much of last year after Beijing protested against Obama’s proposed sale of $6.4 billion in weapons to Taiwan, the self-ruled island China deems an illegitimate breakaway.
Gates said a lack of ties between the two militaries could magnify risks. U.S. and Chinese defense-related ships have jostled in seas near China in past years, and in 2001 a mid-air collision between a U.S. surveillance plane and a Chinese air force fighter erupted into a diplomatic standoff.
This article was posted: Monday, January 10, 2011 at 9:55 am