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Gates: China, US need to cooperate wherever possible

It is essential for the United States and China to find opportunities to cooperate in every possible area, including maintaining a defense relationship, US Defense Secretary Robert Gates said in Singapore today.

Speaking at the 2009 Asian security summit, known as the Shangri-La Dialogue, Gates said that the United States is working with China on common challenges, from economic matters to security issues such as regional areas of tension, counter terrorism, non-proliferation, energy security, piracy and disaster relief.

Noting the importance of a defense relationship marked by consistent and open channels of communication and contact, Gates said that it is essential for the United States and China to be transparent to each other and the rest of the world about the strategic goals, political intentions and military development.

Speaking on the United States' engagement in Asia, Gates said that the United States has welcomed Asia's rise over the last few decades.

"Our commitment to the region is just as strong today as it has ever been, if not stronger since our own prosperity is increasingly linked with yours." Gates said.

He said that the US approach to Asia in recent years and in the future is "a very real shift" that reflects new thinking in US defense strategy, which "places greater emphasis on building the capacity of its partners to better defend themselves."

"Moving forward, we would like to see a good deal more cooperation among our allies and security partners, more multilateral ties in addition to hubs and spokes," Gates said.

Gates is in Singapore for the three-day Asia Security Summit, organized by the London International Institute for Strategic Studies. The summit brings together about 22 ministerial-level guests, along with parliamentarians, military leaders and security experts from more than 27 countries and regions for discussions on regional security issues and defense cooperation.


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