Washington (AFP) May 18, 2011
China "never intends to challenge the US" and welcomes its role maintaining peace in the Asia-Pacific region, People's Liberation Army Chief of General Staff Chen Bingde told US military officers Wednesday.
While the Chinese military has improved considerably in the past years, there is still a large gap between them and US military might, Chen told officers at the National Defense University in Washington.
China "never intends to challenge the US," Chen told the officers, speaking through an interpreter.
China "welcomes a constructive US role in maintaining and promoting peace stability and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region," he said.
Later, responding to a question, Chen said there still exists "a 20-year gap" between China's military and that of the western powers.
Chen earlier invited his counterpart, US Joint Chiefs chairman Admiral Mike Mullen, to visit China. "I hope he visits China as soon as possible," Chen said.
In his speech, Chen said it was important to increase "strategic mutual trust through enhanced dialogues and communication, instead of being prone to suspicion."
Both countries "share significant responsibilities for regional and global peace and stability," he said, then quoted President Barack Obama who said that the two countries are economically "inseparable."
The Chinese general also said it was "imperative" that military to military relations be "based on mutual respect and mutual benefit."
"The world does not need to worry about, let alone fear, China's growth," he said.
Chen is on the first trip to the United States by China's top-ranking officer in seven years.
The Chinese general said he had held talks with Mullen and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Military relations between the two economic powers have been strained and lagged behind diplomatic and trade ties, with Beijing objecting to US arms sales to Taiwan while Washington has voiced concern about China's military buildup.
The last US visit by a senior leader from the PLA was in 2009, when General Xu Caihou came to Washington and toured military bases.
When the US defense secretary paid a high-profile visit to Beijing in January, the Chinese military upstaged Gates with an inaugural test flight of the country's J-20 stealth fighter.
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Putin reveals outdoor passions in US interview
Moscow (AFP) May 18, 2011
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin spoke of his passion for fishing and extolled the virtues of the outdoor life in an unusual interview with a US hunting and fishing magazine published Wednesday. "I value more and more what sport has given me, the habit of a healthy way of life, and the opportunity to be in the countryside," Putin, once famously photographed fishing with a muscle-bound n ... read more
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