Thursday, June 22, 2006

China pleased after watching U.S. wargames .....Bush plans on inviting Bin Laden next time

Chinese military observers said Thursday that observing U.S. military exercises in the Pacific this week gave them a better understanding of U.S. weapons and tactics.

Delegation leader Rear Adm. Zhang Leiyu called the visit to the war games near Guam "a positive step in China-U.S. military ties," the official Xinhua News agency reported.

It was the first time a delegation from China had been invited to officially observe U.S. maneuvers in the Pacific, where China and the U.S. face potential conflicts over Taiwan.

"The visit helped China obtain a better understanding of U.S. weapons, training, skills and exercise arrangements," said Zhang, a navy vice chief of staff and commandant of China's Naval Submarine Academy.

Dubbed "Valiant Shield," the exercises brought three carriers together in the Pacific for the first time since the Vietnam War. Some 30 ships, 280 aircraft and 22,000 troops participated in the five-day war games, which ended Thursday.

Zhang's assessment of the exercises will likely be welcomed by exchange advocates, who argue Chinese exposure to advanced U.S. capabilities reduces the chances of misunderstandings or clashes.

However, the comments may arouse concern among exchange opponents. They say China gains valuable information about the U.S. military without giving away anything in return about their own 2.3 million-member armed forces — the world's largest.

Adm. William J. Fallon, the top U.S. commander in the Pacific who invited the Chinese delegation, said before the exercises began that he expected China to reciprocate. However, neither Zhang or the Xinhua report gave any indication that such an invitation was forthcoming.


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