China and the US have agreed to strengthen coordination in developing a more sustained and productive military relationship.
The announcement was made after the vice chairman of China's Central Military Commission, General Fan Changlong met with US national security adviser Susan Rice in Washington on Friday. The talks came at the end of General Fan's visit to the US, which was aimed at paving the way for President Xi Jinping's visit there in September.
Earlier this week, General Fan met with US Defense Secretary Ash Carter at the Pentagon, to discuss building a sustained military-to-military relationship. General Fan toured a number of sites, including a Boeing factory in Seattle, a Naval Air Station in San Diego, and a US Army base at Fort Hood, Texas.
The visit comes amid rifts between the two countries over territorial issues in the South China Sea and also cyber-security. But both sides have been quick to stress the need to narrow such differences. For more on General Fan's visit to the US, here's Roee Ruttenberg in Washington DC.
The ceremony was attended by top brass from China and the US, and effectively marks the end of General Fan's important visit to Washington. That included meetings at the Pentagon, the State Department, and the White House. The agreement, known as a dialogue mechanism, help eliminate some of the obstacles in dealing with a number of issues, like humanitarian relief, disaster response and the fight against terrorism. It may also help resolve some of the mistrust that's out there. Washington has grown vocally critical and suspicious of Beijing's activities in the South China Sea.
And Beijing has accused Washington of violating its sovereignty by spying on those activities from above. This, and other issues, we understand repeatedly came up in the different meetings. But the Chinese general also tried to draw attention to an time when cooperation between the two countries was a given. He met early on Friday with American world war two veterans and their families. They exchanged gifts. And General Fan thanked them for their service. Remember, these are American veterans who fought against Imperial Japan when it was occupying parts of China seventy years ago.
General Fan said the Chinese people will not forget that contribution.