Friday, January 21, 2011

US Concern Over Chinese Latest Hi-Tech Weapons

US Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Saturday voiced
concern over China's latest hi-tech weaponry and called for an
improvement in uneasy military relations with Beijing to help defuse

Speaking to reporters en route to Beijing for three days of talks, Gates
said the Chinese appeared to have made more progress in building their
first stealth fighter jet than previously thought, and that an anti-ship
missile posed a potential threat to the US military.

"They clearly have the potential to put some of our capabilities at
risk. And we have to pay attention to them, we have to respond
appropriately with our own programmes," Gates said.

But he said the advances in weaponry underlined the importance of
building a dialogue with the Chinese military, and added he hoped his
visit starting Sunday would lay the ground for deeper defence ties with
Asia's rising power.

"My hope is that, through the strategic dialogue that I'm talking about,
that maybe the need for some of these capabilities is reduced," Gates

With Chinese President Hu Jintao due in Washington for a pivotal state
visit on January 19, both sides are anxious to show progress in defence
ties, which China has repeatedly suspended over US arms sales to Taiwan.

"It's pretty clear the Chinese wanted me to come before President Hu visits Washington," Gates said.

"My own view is a positive constructive, comprehensive relationship
between the United States and China is not just in the mutual interests
of the two countries, it's in the interest of everybody in the region
and I would say across the globe."

Days before the US defence chief's highly symbolic trip, photographs
appeared showing a prototype of China's first stealth fighter, the J-20,
at an airfield in the southwest.

"We knew they were working on a stealth aircraft," Gates said when asked about the warplane.

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