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09 December 2002

Defense Department Report, December 9: China Talks; Aircraft Carrier

(Under Secretary Feith describes "useful," broad-ranging discussions)
The fifth round of defense consultative talks between the United
States and China, concluded December 9 in Washington, was both
"useful" and "professional," a U.S. defense official who took part in
them says.
Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Doug Feith told reporters at the
Pentagon that the U.S. and Chinese delegations discussed areas of
agreement such as the United Nations weapons inspections in Iraq and
North Korea's nuclear weapons program and areas of disagreement such
as the Taiwan issue, how Chinese proliferation policy affects regional
stability and modernization efforts by the Chinese Army.
Xiong Guangkai, deputy chief of the Chinese General Staff, gave his
American counterpart a copy of China's just published White Paper on
Defense. He also offered his host a proposed agenda of different types
of meetings and exchanges the two sides might pursue in the coming
year, which will now be reviewed, as 2003 provides an opportunity for
the two sides to hold their sixth round of talks.
Feith said the talks provided a forum to discuss strategic issues, not
just tactical points such as arranging ship ports-of-call. The
officials discussed reciprocity and transparency and the under
secretary said their discussions were "not just stilted set pieces,"
because they were able to talk about mutual interests in reducing
risks through miscalculation or misunderstanding, he said.
On the subject of future military-to-military exchanges between the
United States and China, the under secretary said that he favors
exchanges that are more than "show case pieces," and that the United
States is looking forward to future exchanges "that serve a really
useful purpose."
Turning to the issue of missile defense, the United States once again
emphasized that its research and development program does not threaten
China, according to Feith. He also said the United States agrees with
the Chinese position that it is important to secure a non-nuclear
North Korea. The United States, he said, is looking for Chinese
insights into how North Korea can eliminate its program in a way that
is "visible and provable." The United States is encouraging the
Chinese and a host of other actors including Japan, South Korea,
Russia and the European Union to bring whatever influence they have to
bear on North Korea to convince it that no good purpose will be served
by violation of its commitments on fissile materials.
Navy Secretary Gordon England announced December 9 that the tenth
Nimitz aircraft carrier will be named after former President George
Herbert Walker Bush.
The aircraft carrier, which is under construction in Newport News,
Virginia, will not join the Navy's fleet until 2009. England
designated Bush's daughter, Doro Koch, as the ship's sponsor.
Before serving as president, Bush held the posts of vice-president,
director of central intelligence, ambassador to the United Nations,
chief of the U.S. Liaison Office to China and member of Congress.
(Distributed by the Office of International Information Programs, U.S.
Department of State. Web site:

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