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In China, Gates Says Stronger Ties Curb Misunderstanding

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates (file photo)
U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates continues his four-day trip to China after he and his Beijing counterpart agree on the need for firmer military ties between the two countries.

Gates said such relations would reduce the risk of miscommunication between the two big powers.

"We are in strong agreement that in order to reduce the chances of miscommunication, misunderstanding, or miscalculation, it is important that our military-to-military ties are solid, consistent, and not subject to shifting political winds," Gates said.

Gates was speaking in Beijing after talks with Chinese Defense Minister Liang Guanglie, who said China's military technology lags decades behind the world's most advanced armed forces and threatens no one.

"The efforts that we place on the research and development of weapons systems are by no means targeted at any third country or any other countries in the world, and it will by no means threaten any other country in the world," Liang said.

U.S. officials have expressed concerns over a fast-advancing antinaval missile program, the looming launch of China's first aircraft carrier in 2011, and the recent testing of what is said to be a radar-evading fighter jet.

Meanwhile, fresh economic data from China showed that country's trade surplus narrowed by 7 percent in 2010 for the second straight year. Beijing is likely to point to the fresh data to rebuff U.S. pressure for faster currency appreciation ahead of President Hu Jintao's visit to Washington next week.

compiled from Reuters reports