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Dempsey Engages Senior Chinese Leaders in Beijing


By Karen Parrish
BEIJING — During his second full day in China, Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, met with Chinese President Xi Jinping and other senior civilian and military leaders. 

Dempsey and Xi met at the Great Hall of the People here. The chairman also met with Gen. Chang Wanguan, the minister of national defense, and Gen. Fan Changlong, vice chairman of the Central Military Commission. Those meetings took place at the Bayi Building, China’s Ministry of National Defense. 

According to senior officials traveling with him, Dempsey began each session by noting the extraordinary reception and hospitality he has received, particularly at a time disrupted by the Sichuan earthquake and in mourning over the lives lost. The chairman also recognized ongoing Chinese army activities, overseen by Gen. Fang Fenghui, chief of the general staff, in support of disaster relief efforts. 

In each of the meetings, Dempsey discussed strengthening the two nations’ military-to-military relationships and improving cooperation in areas such as counterpiracy, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, and medical support. 

Officials said the chairman and the senior Chinese leaders also discussed improving senior military-level communication channels between the United States and China, developing "rules of behavior" to prevent or minimize misunderstandings or accidents when U.S. and Chinese military forces operate close to one another, and improving strategic understanding of one another's goals and future roles. 

Dempsey and the Chinese leaders also had candid discussions on points of friction between the two countries and militaries, officials said, to better understand one another's perspectives. 

Officials said even as the United States and China take the next steps to accelerate cooperation, Dempsey affirmed the importance America places on its established alliances. 

This afternoon, Dempsey met with State Councilor Yang Jiechi. The chairman also toured Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City, historically the ultra-private preserve of China’s emperors and now open to the public as a historical site, to learn more about some of China's history and culture.