Chinese and U.S. officials say the two
countries share a common concern over a nuclear-weapons armed North Korea and
both countries say they want to avoid confrontations at sea. These were among
the issues discussed in two days of high level defense talks that ended in
Beijing. Under Secretary for Defense Michele Flournoy headed the U.S.
Speaking to reporters in Beijing, she said both countries
share concern about what she described as North Korea's recent "provocative
actions," and discussed the North Korean nuclear issue in general.
said the two sides did not specifically discuss a North Korean ship off the
coast of China that is allegedly carrying small arms to Burma. If verified,
this would be in violation of a U.N. Security Council resolution that was
recently imposed on Pyongyang after it conducted its second nuclear test at the
end of May.
"This was not the appropriate forum to have detailed
operational level discussions about how enforcement of this U.N. Security
Council resolution was going to go," Flournoy said.
about North Korea
The head of the Chinese side, Lieutenant-General Ma
Xiaotian, said his country has "serious concerns" about a nuclear North Korea.
But he urged all parties to keep negotiating.
Ma says he is confident the
U.S.-China military relationship will continue to strengthen in the future.
Ma says he believes military ties will continue to make progress despite
all the difficulties.
One recent issue has been a series of encounters
between U.S. and Chinese ships in waters off China's coast that Beijing claims
are within its so-called exclusive economic zone. The Pentagon has said the U.S.
ships involved were operating in accordance with international law.
and Chinese military officials will hold special consultations in July, to
address the sea confrontation issue.
Tension over Taiwan arms
The two sides also discussed shared interests in Afghanistan,
Pakistan and Iran, and with international anti-piracy efforts off the coast of
The just-concluded defense talks resumed after an 18-month
hiatus. China suspended the meetings last year, after the Bush administration
announced a multi-billion-dollar arms deal with Taiwan, a separately governed
island that Beijing considers a renegade province.
Flournoy said the Obama administration "inherited" the arms-sale to Taiwan and
is in the process of deciding how it plans to proceed.