US defense secretary Robert Gates met with Chinese state council member and defense minister Liang Guanglie (梁光烈) in Beijing’s 8-1 Building1) on Monday morning local time, according to Xinhua (via Enorth, Tianjin). Liang’s native province is terrifying Sichuan. Liang is a general and member of the central military commissions.
Xinhua continues as follows (all links within the translation are mine):
Liang Guanglie said that Chinese-American relations were the world’s most important bilateral relations. At the entry to the new century, Chinese-American interdependence, mutual benefit and the variety of contacts (交融) was continuously growing. To build the 21rst century’s active, cooperative and comprehensive Sino-American relations together was of great significance to China and America, and also to the world.
Liang pointed out that relations between the Chinese and American military were an important part of the two countries’ relations. China had always attached importance to the development of military relations, and made unremitting efforts to this end. Currently, Sino-American military relations were facing new development opportunities, and at the same time, some difficulties and challenges also existed which required bilateral efforts in accordance with the principles of respect, mutual trust, reciprocity2) and mutual benefit, to take the correct direction of development, to expand common interest, to resolve contradictions and differences, and to make sure that the two militaries were moving on a healthy and stable track.
Gates thanked Liang for the invitation and said that American-Chinese military relations were an important part of active, cooperative and comprehensive relations, advocated both by President Obama and Chairman Hu Jintao. The two military forces developed uninterrupted exchange and cooperation in accordance with the two sides’ interests, which was helpful in increasing mutual trust, and in reducing misunderstandings and misjudgments. The two countries’ defense departments could use military consultations, work meetings, maritime security consultation and other exchange mechanisms to continue the maintenance of communication and coordination.
After the meeting, Liang and Gates met the press together, and briefed them about the consensus arrived at during the talks. Both sides were in agreement that healthy, stable Sino-American military relations were an important part of their two countries’ leaders’ consensus of building active, cooperative and comprehensive Sino-American relations for the 21rst century. Both sides were looking forward to Chairman Hu Jintao’s state visit to the United States. The two sides were in agreement that to maintain a healthy and stable development of Sino-American military relations corresponded with their bilateral interests. Both sides understood (认识到) the important effect that strengthening and maintaining dialog and communication on all levels had for the development of the two military sides. Both sides were equally responsible and obliged to take effective measures, to respect each others’ sovereignty, security, and territorial integrity, to cultivate and further mutual strategic trust, to consolidate and expand common interest, and to avoid misunderstandings and miscalculations. Both sides attached importance to CMC vice chairman Xu Caihou’s (徐才厚) visit to the U.S. in October 2009, and the seven points of consensus (七点共识) then arrived at with defense secretary Gates about promoting the bilateral military ties. Both sides confirm (or affirm, 确认) a systematic development of exchange by mutual high-level visits, a mechanism of projects, and on educational areas. At an appropriate time during the first half of 2011, chief of staff Chen Bingde (陈炳德) would be invited to visit the U.S., the two militaries will develop cooperation in non-traditional fields such as counter-terrorism, peacekeeping, escorting merchant vessels, humanitarian aid and disaster relief, the two sides agreed to hold Sino-American a defense work meeting during the first half of 2011, and maritime security consultation in working groups, the two sides would carry out consultations concerning the guiding principles and framework of bilateral military relations and, at an appropriate time, shape a document of the two sides’ agreement.
Before the talks, Liang held a welcome ceremony for Gates, and accompanied him reviewing the three services’ honor guard.
Deputy chief of staff Ma Xiaotian (马晓天), deputy navy commander Xu Hongmeng (徐洪猛), deputy air force commander Chen Xiaogong (陈小工), Second Artillery deputy chief of staff Wei Fenghe (魏凤和, incorrectly spelled 魏士河 in the article), deputy director of the defense ministry’s foreign affairs office Guan Youfei (关友飞), and U.S. ambassador Jon Huntsman attended these activities.
Gates is on a state visit from January 9 – 12 on Liang Guanglie’s invitation. It is his second visit to China as U.S. secretary of defense. State and military leaders will meet with Gates. Gates will also visit the Second Artillery headquarters.
1) The 8-1 building (八一大楼) at Chang An Road (West) serves as a Central Military Commissions’ representative building to receive guests. There are also military offices, but it isn’t the CMC’s central building. 8-1 Building was completed in 1999 to provide more space for military administration than the central building near the Forbidden City (Jingshan Front Street). 8-1 probably refers to the founding day of the “People’s Liberation Army”, on August 1, 1927.
2) Reciprocity refers to confidence-building measures, such as visiting military units of the other side respectively, and providing information to each other – and to play ones military clout down, or to show it off.