Qian Shugen heads PLA team to observe US navy exercises
Deputy Chief-of-Staff Qian Shugen will lead a military delegation to observe a US-led joint naval exercise next month.
The semi-official China News Service yesterday quoted a Defence Ministry spokesman as saying the Chinese military was preparing General Qian's visit to the US Navy's Pacific Command headquarters in Hawaii.
The spokesman, Major-General Zhan Maohai, did not say General Qian would observe the exercise. But American officials earlier said PLA representatives would, for the first time, observe the exercises by six Pacific Rim nations off Hawaii and another near Alaska.
General Zhang Wannian, vice-chairman of the Central Military Commission, would be visiting the US at 'an appropriate time', said General Zhan. He said President Clinton's visit would bolster military exchanges between the two countries.
There had been high-level military exchanges nearly every other month since President Jiang Zemin's visit to the US last October, the agency said.
China and the US will hold their first meeting on a naval co-operation pact next month, aimed at preventing clashes and accidents at sea. The pact was signed in January by US Defence Secretary William Cohen and his Chinese counterpart General Chi Haotian.