| GEO World|
| Continued defense talks with China "important": U.S.|
| Updated at: 0242 PST, Sunday, March 01, 2009|
BEIJING: The United States said Saturday it was important to continue defense talks with China and both sides should seize every opportunity to strengthen the relationship.
David Sedney, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, made the remarks at a press briefing after two-day Defense Policy Coordination Talks (DPCT), which started Friday in Beijing.
According to Sedney, this year's DPCT addressed the U.S.-China military-to-military relationship, challenges to regional and global security, and explored areas for expanding cooperation between the two militaries.
Sedney said the dialogue was "frank" and "open". The U.S. delegation shared its views on issues of mutual concern in regional security affairs and on a broad range of transnational security issues.
"The two sides discussed security developments in South and Central Asia, and the Horn of Africa," said Sedney.
They also exchanged ideas on principles and framework for developing a military-to-military relationship in the coming year.
"In particular, the two sides emphasized areas to improve cooperative capacity and foster institutional understanding," Sedney added.
Though the fifth since its inception in 2005, the talks were the first between the two defense ministries after the Pentagon announced a 6.5 billion U.S. dollar Taiwan arms deal last October.
The dialogue itself didn't necessarily signify the resumption of the suspended military exchanges between the two countries as not a single obstacle in military ties has been removed by far, Qian Lihua, director of the Foreign Affairs Office of China's Defense Ministry, said Friday.
"It is too early in our administration to be setting a lot of dates," Sedney said when talking about the resumption of high-level exchanges between the two militaries.
Responding to a question on regional security, Sedney said, China had taken a lot of positive steps in terms of regional security dynamics and the two sides had talked about the appointment of ships to the Gulf of Aden during the talks.
The dialogue was the first military-to-military consultation between the two countries since the Obama administration took office in January.