China, US agree to open military hotline

Beijing, Nov 5 (Xinhua) China and the US agreed Monday to open a hot line between the two defence ministries.

Chinese Defence Minister Cao Gangchuan and visiting US Secretary of Defence Robert M. Gates made the announcement at a joint press briefing after holding talks in Beijing earlier.

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The China-US military hotline is the first of its kind that China has established with another country at the defence ministry level.

Discussions on setting up the military hotline have been going on since Chinese President Hu Jintao and US President George W. Bush agreed to advance bilateral military relations during their meeting in April 2006.

The creation of the military hotline will help in enhancing mutual trust between the militaries and promote the development of military-to-military relations between China and the US, said Tao Wenzhao, a Chinese Academy of Social Sciences researcher.

Besides the hotline, the two ministers also agreed to continue to strengthen dialogue and exchanges at various levels. These included exchanges between military academies and holding exercises on humanitarian aid and disaster relief.

The defence ministries of the two countries will also launch military archives cooperation so as to help find US military personnel missing in action in China before and after the Korean War.

“The military-to-military relations between China and America have grown in recent years. China is willing to join hands with the United States, properly handle disputes and friction, and make a sound and stable development of the military relations,” Cao said during the talks.

Gates said the two armed forces have maintained an active momentum in the development of military relations and were facing an important opportunity to expand exchanges in various fields.