Chinese to beef up military ties with Australia

August 9, 2010 20:10

BEIJING — A leading Chinese general urged closer ties with Australia's military on Monday, amid a continuing freeze on Beijing's contacts with the Pentagon.

Gen. Liao Xilong pledged Monday to "beef up military exchanges" with Australia, during a meeting in Beijing with Australian Air Vice-Marshal Margaret Staib, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.The People's Liberation Army "hopes to expand its cooperation with the Australian armed forces to push bilateral military ties to a new level," said Liao, who is head of logistics for the 2.3 million-member PLA and sits on Communist Party commission that oversees the military's operations.

The outreach to a top US ally in the region contrasts starkly with Beijing's approach toward Washington — continuing its demands that the U.S. cancel a $6.4 billion arms sale to Taiwan, and take other unspecified steps to repair relations and allow military exchanges to resume.

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