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U.S. Defense Chief: No Doubt Civilians In Control Of Chinese Military

Chinese President Hu Jintao (right) meets with U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates in Beijing on January 11.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates says the United States has no doubt that China's President Hu Jintao remains in control of the Chinese military, despite some indications of a possible lack of communication between China's military and the civilian leadership.

Gates, speaking in the Japanese capital, Tokyo, said U.S. officials have observed a number of incidents in which Chinese military events took place and "the Chinese civilian leadership may not have known about them in advance."

"I believe we've seen instances where specific events took place where the Chinese civilian leadership may not have known about them in advance," Gates said. "But in terms of overall control of the Chinese military forces, I have no doubt whatsoever that President Hu and the civilian leadership are fully in command."

U.S. officials say one such incident appeared to have occurred on January 11, when Hu and other civilian leaders, during a meeting with Gates in Beijing, appeared not to be aware of the first test-flight of China's first stealth, or radar-evading, fighter jet.

compiled from agency reports