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Pentagon Official Heading to China

June 21, 2002

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WASHINGTON (AP) _ A Pentagon official is expected to meet next week with Chinese defense officials in Beijing about renewing some military contacts between the United States and China, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said Friday.

Peter Rodman, assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs, will meet with Chinese officials Wednesday, Pentagon officials said. He will tell the Chinese that future military contacts must be more beneficial to the U.S. side, said Lt. Cmdr. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman.

The U.S.-Chinese contacts were severely curtailed not long after a Chinese fighter collided with a U.S. spy plane off the coast of China on April 1, 2001. The Chinese fighter crashed into the sea, killing the pilot. The 24-member crew of the American plane _ which made an emergency landing on the Chinese island of Hainan _ was detained for 11 days before being released.

Afterward, the Bush administration announced it no longer saw the contacts _ which include academic conferences and exchanges _ as beneficial.

A possible outcome of Rodman’s visit would be the restarting of regular talks that provide for formal planning of the military contacts, Davis said.

On another front, U.S. and Chinese delegations on Friday concluded two days of talks on talks in terrorism in Asia.

They agreed that ``very encouraging progress has been made in the fight against terrorism and recognized that much remains to be done,″ said Richard Boucher, the State Department spokesman.

The United States offered to provide China with security experts and other assistance in preparation for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.

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