Gates Accepts Beijing’s Invitation

Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Monday accepted a formal invitation from his Chinese counterpart, Gen. Liang Guanglie, to make an official visit to China. The invitation came during a meeting of the two in Hanoi, Vietnam, at the ASEAN defense ministerial. The two sides must still work out the timing of the visit. “I outlined to him why I believe it’s important that, indeed, when there are disagreements, it’s all the more important to talk with each other more, not less,” stated Gates in explaining the importance of having bilateral military-to-military exchanges. He added, “Greater clarity and understanding of each other is essential to preventing mistrust, miscalculations, and mistakes.” The opening of dialogue appears to mark a reprieve from building tensions between the two nations over US arms sales to Taiwan, China’s military buildup, and China’s recent row with US ally Japan. (AFPS report by John D. Banusiewicz)