American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Dec. 27, 2010 " Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates will travel to China from Jan. 9 to 12, and then to Japan Jan. 13 and 14. He`ll also make a stop in South Korea on Jan. 14, according to defense officials.
"We look to use this trip to confirm recent progress in advancing the defense component of the U.S.-China relationship, expand upon those areas where we can cooperate, and sustain a dialog aimed at improving our mutual understanding and reducing the risk of miscalculation, " Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell said.
The trip comes at the invitation of China`s minister of national defense, Morrell said. While there, Gates will meet with his counterpart and other members of the defense and political leadership, he said.
The secretary`s visit to China will underscore the importance the United States places on building toward a sustained and reliable military-to-military relationship with China, which we view as an essential part of a U.S.-China relationship that is positive in tone, cooperative in nature and comprehensive in scope," Morrell said.
Following the visit, Gates will then travel to Japan, where he will meet with the defense minister and other senior members of the Japanese government Jan. 13 and 14.
"We will use that portion of the trip to discuss recent security developments in the region and to further develop our long-term agenda for strengthening and deepening the bilateral alliance, " Morrell said. The visit will underscore the centrality of the U.S.-Japan relationship for addressing regional and global challenges, now and in the years to come."
Gates has added a brief stop in South Korea to his upcoming trip to Asia. Following previously announced visits to China and Japan, the secretary will travel to Seoul on January 14 to meet with Minister of Defense Kim. "They will discuss North Korea`s recent actions and consult on the way forward for the alliance to address the threats posed by North Korean provocations and its nuclear and missile programs," Morrell said.