U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates arrived in Beijing Sunday for a 3-day visit aimed at improving military ties between Beijing and Washington.
While in Beijing, Gates is due to meet with President Hu Jintao and other officials. He also plans to make another effort to convince the Chinese army to establish stable communications with the U.S. to prevent misunderstandings that could trigger a confrontation.
Speaking to reporters on his plane Saturday, Gates voiced concern about China’s latest hi-tech weaponry. He said the Chinese appear to have made more progress in building its first stealth fighter jet than previously thought. He also called other Chinese military advances, such as an anti-ship missile, worrisome.
Secretary Gates said “the Chinese clearly have potential to put some of the U.S. capabilities at risk and we have to pay attention to them and respond appropriately with its own programs.”
His visit comes a week ahead of Mr. Hu’s planned visit to Washington.
China’s military restored limited relations with the Pentagon last last year after breaking off contact over a multi-billion-dollar arms sale to Taiwan.
From Beijing, Gates will travel to South Korea and Japan to discuss tensions on the Korean Peninsula.