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China, US Defense Chiefs to Meet

  • VOA News

China says its defense minister will meet with U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates at a security conference in Vietnam next week.

Defense Ministry official Guan Youfei is quoted by Xinhua news agency as saying General Liang Guanglie will meet with Gates on the sidelines of the ASEAN conference in Hanoi. The meeting marks the resumption of military exchanges between the superpowers after an eight-month freeze.

Beijing broke off the exchanges to protest U.S. plans to sell $6.4 billion in military equipment to Taiwan, the self-ruled island China claims as part of its territory.

China has also been at odds with the U.S. over recent joint military exercises with South Korea, and Washington's involvement in territorial disputes in the South China Sea.

Gates had planned to visit China in June during his trip to region, but Beijing said the timing of such a visit was "not convenient."

Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell told reporters Tuesday the nations are hoping to reschedule the canceled meeting within the coming months, possibly in early 2011.

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