US and China resume military ties

A US-made Patriot missile launches in Taiwan The US has pledged to defend Taiwan, which China considers a rogue province.

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The United States and China are to resume military contacts after a hiatus of more than six months.

US officials said the two sides would hold maritime talks in Hawaii next month, followed by high-level talks in Washington later in the year.

The announcement follows a visit to Beijing by Michael Schiffer, the US deputy assistant secretary of defence.

China froze military ties in January after the US announced plans for a $6.4bn (£4bn) arms deal with Taiwan.

'Mutual trust'

Beijing regards Taiwan as a breakaway province.

It has more than 1,000 missiles pointed at the island and has threatened to use force to bring it under its control if the island moves towards formal independence.

The US is Taiwan's biggest ally and is obliged by the Taiwan Relations Act to help in the island's defence. In February, it said the weapons sale contributed to "security and stability" between Taiwan and China.

The two sides have now agreed that dialogue "is essential to build mutual trust and reduce the chances of misunderstanding and miscalculation", according to Colonel Dave Lapan, a Pentagon spokesman.

Ties between Washington and Beijing have also been strained this year over internet policy, Tibet, the US trade deficit, and Chinese territorial claims in the South China Sea.

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