Gates: US can sail in waters China says restricted

January 14, 2011 04:12

TOKYO — US Defense Secretary Robert Gates says even as the US military relationship with China improves there is at least one area of continued disagreement.

Gates says the US won't back off its insistence on "freedom of navigation." That's a euphemism for the US view that it has the right to sail its ships in waters that China claims as restricted.Gates says freedom of shipping and commerce have been basic principles for the United States since its founding.

He also tells students at Japan's Keio University that China's military sometimes does things without telling the country's senior political leadership. He says that the communist party has firm control over the military, but "sometimes there are disconnects."

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