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Remarks With Deputy Chief of the PLA General Staff Ma Xiaotian

John D. Negroponte, Deputy Secretary of State
Ba Yi Building, Ministry of National Defense
Beijing, China
May 11, 2008

DEPUTY SECRETARY NEGROPONTE: It’s very nice of you to receive me on a Sunday.

DEPUTY CHIEF MA XIAOTIAN: You spent a long time when you flew over the Pacific Ocean, it’s the least we could do.

[Principals sit]

DEPUTY CHIEF MA XIAOTIAN: Welcome Mr. Negoponte. It is my great pleasure also to host you in the Headquarters of the People’s Liberation Army. Before the meeting allow me to introduce my colleagues.

Captain [inaudible] of the Foreign Affairs Office. Lieutenant Colonen Huang Xieping, Deputy Director of the American and Oceanic Affairs Bureau. Colonel Hu is my executive assistant.

I’m very pleased to find many [inaudible] as members of the delegation today. As for Ambassador Randt [inaudible]. I have very candid and very good discussions with both Mr. Christensen and Mr. Sedney in Washington, D.C. in December last year when I was attending the ninth round of the Defense Consultative Talks.

In addition, as far as I know, usually there are no representatives from the State Department and the White House in previous Defense Consultative Talks. However, I did find [inaudible] at that time in the ninth round of the Defense Consultative Talks.

I also express my appreciation for you to take time from your busy schedule when I was in Washington, D.C., to receive me at the State Department. I remember that day was the 4th of December and there was a big snow that day when we came out of the State Department and then moved to the White House.

Although we do have different interests strategically between the two countries, but after our concerted efforts we always can find common ground common areas of mutual interest. Speaking for myself, I cannot say I have already developed a profound friendship with people from the U.S. Department of Defense, Department of State or White House because I have been engage for only this year and not for a long time. But I do believe a deeper friendship and understanding and appreciation between me and my counterparts or other people in charge of similar affairs in those organizations is definitely useful, meaningful [inaudible].

Although we work for the interests of our respective countries, however the realization of the interests of the political relations of both countries, after all at the end of the day, are done by people and only the gradual deepening of the friendship and understanding between people can eventually lead to the development of relations between two countries [inaudible].

It is exactly because of that, that after my formal meetings in Washington D.C. after the Defense Consultative Talks, I requested to make office calls with people from those White House and State Department that are other than those representatives I already met at the DCT. With that said, it is my great pleasure to meet you today and other occasions.

And it is because you already [inaudible] who reached out who already knew you, and after my trip to the U.S., when I was reading reports of commentary that involve remarks of familiar names, for example your remarks or commentary, I really will pay special attention to those remarks. And that has helped me translate ordinary words and language into vivid pictures of men or people.

In January this year, you came to Beijing for the Sixth Round of the China-U.S. Strategic or Senior Dialogue between you and then Deputy Minister Dai Bingguo. During that time, I wanted to make plans to meet you here in Beijing. Later on that dialogue was moved to the hometown of Mr. Dai Bingguo in Guizhou Province. I also heard that you met with the blizzard at that time in China and that disaster affected your schedule.

DEPUTY SECRETARY NEGROPONTE: Maybe if you had been flying our airplane, we would have been able to get out of there, but we are more timid. I had an American Navy pilot, and he didn’t want to go that night.

DEPUTY CHIEF MA XIAOTIAN: Whether the aircraft will be frozen or not really has nothing to do with the pilot.


DEPUTY CHIEF MA XIAOTIAN: It is just because that plane was specially chartered by you, it had to make an overnight stop there and that is why it got frozen. Otherwise normal airliners, those aircraft usually can land normally.

Released on May 12, 2008

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