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Hawaii News

China-U.S. security talks set for isles

WASHINGTON » China and the United States will hold talks on maritime security in Hawaii next week as the nations have agreed to resume normal military contacts after a period of estrangement over U.S. arms sales to Taiwan.

The Pentagon also said last week China plans to send senior defense officials to Washington for meetings later this year.

China froze military contacts with the United States earlier this year in protest of a proposed arms sale to Taiwan worth more than $6 billion. Beijing decided not to issue an invitation to Defense Secretary Robert Gates for a visit that had been tentatively planned for June, and Gates found himself in a sharp exchange with Chinese generals over the issue of Taiwan at an Asian security gathering in Singapore.

Chinese military officials agreed to resume some military contacts during a visit to Beijing last week by a senior Pentagon official responsible for Asia, said Pentagon spokesman Col. David Lapan.

The maritime talks scheduled for Oct. 14 and 15 in Hawaii are a continuation of contacts begun in the late 1990s but subject to frequent interruption, usually at Chinese behest.

The talks "have unfortunately sort of followed the fits and starts that we have had in our relationship," Lapan said. They were last held in September 2009.

U.S. defense officials across Republican and Democratic administrations have argued that the military relationship between the United States and China has lagged behind improved ties in the economic and political spheres.

Gates in particular has argued that the two nations need ways to understand one another’s goals and motives and avoid potentially deadly miscalculations.


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