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US-China developing better military ties: US admiral

Relations between the two powers soured in late November when Chinese authorities refused to allow the USS Kitty Hawk to dock at Hong Kong to allow its crew to get some much-needed rest time.
by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) Jan 28, 2008
The United States and China are developing better ties despite a recent row over the port visits of US ships, the head of the US armed forces in the Asia-Pacific said Monday.

"The sense I got is that they didn't want to be confrontational," Admiral Timothy Keating told reporters, after a visit to China this month.

"I am not as concerned today as I was before ... We think we are developing a better understanding of them."

Relations between the two powers soured in late November when Chinese authorities refused to allow the USS Kitty Hawk to dock at Hong Kong to allow its crew to get some much-needed rest time.

Two US minesweepers were also refused permission to shelter in Hong Kong from a brewing tropical storm.

"They didn't give me an explanation on mainland China nor in Hong Kong," said Keating about the two incidents, but said it could have been due to Beijing's anger over US arms sales to Taiwan or the visit to Washington by the exiled Tibetan leader, the Dalai Lama.

One Chinese leader told him the Kitty Hawk had not followed the proper procedures, but Keating dismissed that excuse was "nonsense."

The issue of Taiwan, which split from mainland China in 1949 at the end of a civil war, was also raised in his visit.

"Taiwan came up in every session I had, but in each case it was less a sermon, it was less tense, less confrontational and more kind of a frank discussion," Keating told reporters.

He added he had urged his Chinese counterparts to improve communications by agreeing to a US proposal to install a telephone hotline between the two militaries.

Keating said he had told the Chinese, "if something comes up, I'd like to call you." But he added: "I don't have a phone number yet but we are working on it."

New talks between the two sides are scheduled for mid-February.

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Analysis: Taiwan faces better PLA ability
Hong Kong (UPI) Jan 25, 2008
The appearance of Chinese editions of expeditionary fighting vehicles (CEFV/CAAAV amphibious assault vehicles) has fundamentally changed the mode of cross-sea combat operations in the Taiwan Strait, making beyond-vision landing assaults possible. The practical significance is that these vehicles can greatly suppress and weaken the artillery projection capability of the Taiwanese ground forces, which is critical for their survival in beachhead fighting.







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