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US Military Chief Given Unprecedented Access In China

General Peter Pace inspecting a Russian-designed SU-27 fighter plane in China last week.
by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) March 30, 2007
The chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Peter Pace, said in an interview published Friday that he was given unprecedented access to military facilities during his trip to China. The Chinese "treated me better, I think, than they've treated any other US officer," he told the Washington Times of his four-day visit last week in a bid to expand contacts between Chinese and US military leaders.

"There were five or six things they had me do that no one else did," including climbing into a Russian-designed SU-27 fighter plane and riding in a T-99 tank, Pace said.

He was invited into a Chinese general's office, where China's war maps were displayed, and then visited a command post with more displays and a table showing the disposition of Chinese forces. "They were very open about that," he said.

Both sides discussed setting up a hotline between the two militaries, boosting exchanges through joint military exercises and setting up an exchange program between military academies, Pace told reporters in Beijing.

On the hot line, Pace suggested it would be a telex or e-mail connection modeled on the hot line between the Soviet Union and the United States during the Cold War.

"It would also be good to be able to just pick up the phone" to talk with Chinese officers, he said. "Now that I've been there," he said, "it's not a cold phone call; it's a face and a name and a voice that you recognize."

Pace's visit followed US complaints over China's rising military budget and a satellite-killing test as well as a US announcement that it planned to provide more than 400 missiles to Taiwan, apparently to counter China's growing military force aimed at the island territory.

Taiwan has been one of the biggest obstacles to better Sino-US ties, with the United States concerned that China may carry out its threat to retake the island by force if Taipei should move towards independence.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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Indian Plans Naval Wargames With China, Japan, Russia, US
New Delhi (AFP) March 29, 2007
India is sending its largest warships for joint manoeuvres with China, Japan, Russia and the US where it will showcase its growing naval strength, officials said Thursday.

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