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China, U.S. to hold 10th defense consultations (06/22/09)

   BEIJING, June 22 (Xinhua) -- China and the United States are to hold their 10th annual round of defense consultations on June 23 and 24 on building closer military ties, marking the resumption of military exchanges between the two countries.

   The U.S. military delegation led by Michele Flournoy, undersecretary for policy of the U.S. Department of Defense, is due to visit Beijing on Tuesday and Wednesday for the talks, the Chinese Defense Ministry announced Monday in a news release.

   Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the Chinese People's Liberation Army Ma Xiaotian and Flournoy will co-chair the consultations.

   The Sino-U.S. defense consultations were suspended in October 2008 when the then Bush administration notified Congress of its plan to sell arms worth about 6.5 billion U.S. dollars to Taiwan.

   In February, China and the U.S. held the fifth round of Defense Policy Coordination Talks in Beijing, which were also the first military-to-military consultations between both countries since the Obama administration took office.

   According to the press release, the two sides will talk on bilateral military relations, Taiwan issues, international and regional security issues and other issues of common concern.

   "China attaches great importance to this round of consultative talks and hopes to make concerted efforts with the United States to ensure positive results from the talks," said the release.

   The annual consultations began in 1997, following an agreement between Chinese President Jiang Zemin and his U.S. counterpart Bill Clinton. 


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