China’s Vice President Xi Jinping got quite the reception during his visit to Washington, D.C., this week, including a grand ceremony at the Pentagon’s Potomac River entrance with an unprecedented 19-gun salute and greeting from Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. Xi is scheduled to succeed President Hu Jintao as head of the Chinese Communist Party later this year and rise to the presidency. “The United States and China are Pacific powers, and we welcome the rise of a prosperous and successful China that plays an active and responsible role in regional and global affairs,” said Panetta during a brief discussion with reporters at Xi’s honor cordon on Tuesday. The United States seeks to work with China to build a “transparent and inclusive regional security order,” added Panetta, and as such, the two countries must enhance mutual trust between their respective militaries. Xi thanked Panetta for his support of military-to-military exchanges between the two countries, and noted that he came to the United States to deepen “mutual trust” and cooperation based on “mutual respect and mutual benefit,” especially regarding military relations. (Panetta-Xi transcript)
The Air Force overall reduced its size by 120 aircraft in fiscal year 2021, but kept about the same number of fighter, bomber and attack aircraft, according to data supplied by the service. The F-35 fleet saw the biggest increase while the B-1B bomber fleet saw the largest decline.