HONG KONG (Reuters) - The head of U.S. military forces in the Pacific is hopeful bilateral military exchanges with China can be restored following a visit by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the New York Times said on Thursday.
“We hope she gets some traction, and we’re hoping for a resumption of that dialogue,” Admiral Timothy Keating, head of U.S. Pacific Command, was quoted as saying following an invitation-only briefing on Wednesday for a small group of reporters.
Clinton, who arrives in China on Friday during her first visit to Asia in her new job, had earlier said mid-level military-to-military talks would resume this month.
China suspended military ties last October, angered over a major U.S. arms deal with Taiwan estimated to be worth $6.5 billion, which included 30 Apache attack helicopters and 330 Patriot missiles.
China has claimed sovereignty over self-ruled Taiwan since the end of the Chinese civil war in 1949 and has vowed to bring the island under mainland rule, by force if necessary.
The official China Daily newspaper said earlier this week that Sino-U.S. military talks would take place in Beijing on February 27-28.
“It’s our desire to have more exchanges with the Chinese,” the New York Times quoted Keating as saying.
The United States switched diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China in 1979, recognizing “one China,” but is obliged by the Taiwan Relations Act to help the island defend itself.
Reporting by James Pomfret; Editing by Nick Macfie and Sanjeev Miglani