WASHINGTON — China's second-ranking military officer will travel to Washington later this month on a week-long visit designed to promote trust and avoid "misunderstandings," the Pentagon said Wednesday.
General Xu Caihou, vice chairman of the People's Liberation Army central military commission, will hold high-level meetings from October 24-31 and visit military commands and bases across the United States, press secretary Geoff Morrell told a news conference.
Since Defense Secretary Robert Gates paid a visit to China two years ago, the Chinese official "has been committed to fostering a better and deeper strategic dialogue with that country, especially better trust and transparency between our two militaries," Morrell said.
Gates "has been pushing for quite some time to have this kind of visit," he said.
"The more transparency there is, the more dialogue that goes on, the less chance there is for a misunderstanding between two very formidable powers on the world's stage," Morrell said.
China is in the midst of a drive to modernize its armed forces and has announced large military budget increases in recent years, prompting US officials to question Beijing's intentions.
The two nations also experienced a series of standoffs involving Chinese vessels and US navy ships in waters off China earlier this year.
China cut military exchanges with the United States for months last year over a proposed 6.5-billion-dollar US arms package to Taiwan, but agreed to resume them in February.
Since then, the two countries have held several rounds of military talks.
During his tour, the Chinese general was due to visit sites from all the US armed services, including the US Naval Academy in Maryland, US Strategic Command in Nebraska, Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada, the US Army's Fort Benning in Georgia, the North Island Naval Air Station in San Diego and US Pacific Command in Hawaii, Morrell said.
"We will show him a great deal of how our military operates in this country," he added.
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