| GEO World|
| US ask China for help on Pak, Afghan issues|
| Updated at: 1856 PST, Saturday, February 28, 2009|
BEIJING: Regular military exchanges between the U.S. and China are resuming and deepening under the new U.S. administration, particularly on regional issues such as Pakistan and Afghanistan, David Sedney, U.S. deputy assistant secretary of defense for East Asia, said in Beijing today.
Sedney downplayed tensions over Taiwan, emphasizing instead cooperation on anti-piracy efforts off Somalia and shared concerns in Southeast Asia.
“This was the single best set of talks I’ve been to,” Sedney told reporters at a press conference in Beijing, estimating he has participated in more than 50 rounds of military dialogue since 1991. “The kinds of discussions we had about Pakistan and Afghanistan, those were where we really had a new level of dialogue that we hadn’t had before.”
The first military talks since President Barack Obama took office also mark resumption after China froze some exchanges in October to protest a U.S. arms deal with Taiwan. Sedney’s remarks indicate China is willing to move forward in some areas even as tension over Taiwan remains unresolved.
“As we’ve had a pause in some things and haven’t been able to do some of the talks, I think that’s helped to bring home to both of us how important it is for us to have continuous, regular dialogue,” he said. Pakistan and Afghanistan are “areas where we do have shared objectives.”