China, U.S. Defense Officials to Meet

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates will meet with his Chinese counterpart Liang Guanglie in Vietnam next week, the first such meeting since relations soured earlier this year over the U.S. sale of arms to Taiwan. But as the Wall Street Journal reports, the meeting could be complicated by recent tensions between China and Vietnam:

The row over China's alleged detention of Vietnamese fishermen in the South China Sea raises similar issues to a dispute last month between China and Japan over the detention of a Chinese fishing vessel in the East China Sea.

Japan's foreign minister says his country will continue to work with China after the leaders of the two nations met in Belgium amid heightened tension. Video courtesy of Reuters.

As well as fueling local concerns about China's military power, it also could lead to fresh tensions between China and the U.S., which angered Beijing this year by asserting its own interests in the South China Sea and by shoring up ties with Southeast Asia.

Mr. Gates will meet his counterpart, Defense Minister Liang Guanglie, at a gathering of defense chiefs from the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or Asean, and eight other countries, China's state-run Xinhua news agency said Wednesday. The meeting will be "short but significant," Xinhua quoted Rear Admiral Guan Youfei, deputy director of the Foreign Affairs Office of China's Defense Ministry, as saying.


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