Two years after Donald Rumsfeld bluntly criticized China's rapid military buildup, Defense Secretary Robert Gates struck a conciliatory tone toward Beijing on Saturday, saying the United States and China have the opportunity to "build trust over time."
In a speech delivered from the same podium where Rumsfeld, his predecessor, said in 2005 that China's growing arsenal of ships, missiles and submarines threatened Asia's security balance, Gates steered away from a direct challenge to China about its military modernization and said he was hopeful about future dealings between the two countries.
"I believe there is reason to be optimistic about the U.S.-China relationship," Gates said, at an annual gathering here of defense ministers from the Pacific region.
Gates briefly raised concerns that China's actual military spending appears to far outpace its publicly stated budget. But the speech and comments by Pentagon officials in Singapore make it clear that the Pentagon - which has long taken a hawkish view toward China's intentions - is hoping to lower the temperature in the relationship between the two powers.
Saturday, June 02, 2007
This piece seems to think so: