US Official: China’s Military Expansion Raises Concerns in Asia- Pacific

Posted June 26th, 2011 at 10:15 pm (UTC-5)
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A top U.S. official for East Asian and Pacific affairs says the U.S. government has conveyed to China that its military expansion is raising concerns in the region.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell spoke to reporters in Honolulu, after a meeting with Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Cui Tiankai.

The two officials held their first round of consultations on the Asia-Pacific region in a closed-door meeting Saturday.

Campbell described the discussions as “open, frank and constructive” and said their goal was to obtain a better understanding of each other's intentions, policies, and actions toward the region.

Campbell said the United States reiterated that it welcomes a strong, prosperous, and successful China that plays a greater role in regional and world affairs. However, he also said greater transparency and more dialogue by China about its growing military capabilities would help ease regional concerns.

Campbell said the bilateral talks also included North Korea's nuclear weapons program, maritime security in the South China Sea and Burma.

The two sides say that Saturday's consultations were an outcome of the third round of the China-U.S.. strategic and economic dialogue held in May and that they reflect a consensus reached by U.S. President Barack Obama and his Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao to build a positive, cooperative and comprehensive relationship

Campbell said that upcoming multilateral sessions should highlight areas where the United States and China — but other countries, as well — are able to very clearly articulate areas of cooperation on issues such as disaster preparedness.

On North Korea, he reiterated that the United States is looking for concrete progress in Pyongyang's relations with South Korea. He said the U.S. has urged China again to press North Korea to deal responsibly and appropriately with South Korea, and to refrain from any further provocations.

On South China Sea tensions, he said the United States told China that it wants an end to regional tensions and dialogue among all the key players.

China last week warned the United States to stay out of the regional dispute over the South China Sea waters which are also claimed by the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan.