PLA serious about military ties, leader tells US officers

PUBLISHED : Friday, 02 August, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 02 August, 2002, 12:00am

A military leader yesterday reassured the United States the PLA was serious about its relationship with its American counterparts.

The reassurance was given by Xiong Guangkai, Deputy Chief of General Staff of the PLA, when he received a delegation of military officers from the US in Beijing, Xinhua said.

'China takes the exchange ... seriously,' he said. 'The Chinese side is willing to work together with the US side to improve understanding and exchange and to promote the relationship between the militaries.'

General Xiong's comments come after the Pentagon reportedly decided to intensify military ties with the PLA following a visit by US Assistant Secretary of Defence Peter Rodman to Beijing in June.

It was reported earlier that the Pentagon had expressed reservation about exchanges with China, claiming the Chinese side was reluctant to share information and lacked transparency.

According to Xinhua, General Xiong yesterday also rejected accusations that China posed any threat to foreign countries and called such criticism a residue of a Cold War mentality.

The same remarks were made by military scholar Luo Yuan, who said the recent release of two reports by the Pentagon and a security commission carried 'untold political agendas'.

Mr Luo's comments were released with a speech by Defence Minister Chi Haotian on Wednesday that said the PLA had no ambition to threaten other countries.

General Chi made his speech at a reception in Beijing to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the PLA the only main official function to mark the occasion.

No public activities were held yesterday except individual cultural performances by military units, especially those of veteran soldiers.

The message of non-aggression was repeated in most state-run newspapers yesterday.

A People's Daily editorial called China 'a steadfast keeper of world peace and regional stability' whose development 'will not pose a threat to any other country'.