Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said he had “a very productive meeting” with Chinese Defense Minister Gen. Chang Wanquan during the latter’s visit to the Pentagon on Monday. “We both agreed that our military-to-military relationship is an important component of our overall bilateral relations and that the current military relationship is gaining a good momentum,” Chang told reporters in the Pentagon during a joint press conference with Hagel after their meeting. Among the decisions they announced, Hagel said he “enthusiastically accepted” Chang’s invitation to visit China next year. Further, the Chinese navy will participate in next year’s Rim of the Pacific naval exercise off of Hawaii, and the sides agreed to explore a notification mechanism for major military activities in the region and to continue to study the rules of behavior on military air and maritime activities, they said during the Aug. 19 press briefing. The two militaries will also set up an exchange mechanism between their respective strategic planning organizations and will have an exploratory discussion later this year on logistics issues in support of non-traditional security missions, they said. (Hagel-Chang transcript)
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.