Senior Chinese, U.S. military officers hold talks amid tensions over South China Sea
GOV.cn Monday, July 11, 2011
 
Chen Bingde (R), Chief of the General Staff of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA), meets with Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen in Beijing, capital of China, July 11, 2011. (Xinhua/Zhang Duo)

 
 Chen Bingde (2nd L), Chief of the General Staff of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA), and Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen (3rd, L) inspect guards of honor during a welcome ceremony in Beijing, capital of China, July 11, 2011. (Xinhua/Zhang Duo)

China on Monday urged the United States to restrain from engaging in disputes over the South China Sea as senior military officers from the two countries meet to improve ties.

"It's not a proper time for the United States to conduct military drills in the region with the Philippines and Vietnam," said Chen Bingde, Chief of the General Staff of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA), after holding talks with his visiting U.S. counterpart Mike Mullen.

The oil-and gas-rich South China Sea is partially claimed by several southeast Asian states, including the Philippines and Vietnam. However, history shows that China has indisputable sovereignty over the sea's islands and their surrounding waters.

The U.S. side has repeated that it does not intend to engage in the disputes in the area, "but it's behavior has given some opposite signals," Chen said at a joint press conference after talks with Mullen.

"We discussed four major topics, including the South China Sea, the attitude of some U.S. politicians toward China, cyber security and China's military development," Chen said.

Both sides exchanged views on those issues in a candid manner, he added.

"It's fair to say that we found a lot of common ground while we do have different opinions on certain issues," Chen said.

Chen urged the two sides to implement the consensus reached by their heads of state to push forward the development of bilateral military relations.

"We are glad to witness the rebounce of bilateral military relations, which is hard-won and should be treasured," Chen said, warning that some U.S. politicians were deliberately stirring up trouble, for instance meeting with the Dalai Lama.

Mullen, chairman of the United States Joint Chiefs of Staff, arrived in Beijing Saturday night for a four-day visit to China. A welcoming ceremony was held earlier Monday morning ahead of his talks with Chen.

Mullen, who has visited the headquarters of China's strategic Second Artillery Force and is to visit China's army, navy and air force units, is making the visit at the invitation of Chen, as a reciprocal visit to Chen's trip in May to the United States.

Editor: Zhang Xiang
Source: Xinhua