Chinese defense chief lukewarm about working with U.S.

One of China’s top generals said Monday that it was up to the United States to change its policies if it wanted better ties with China’s military, and offered a lukewarm endorsement of U.S. programs designed to bring the two sides closer together.

Chinese Minister of Defense Liang Guangjie made the comments after two hours of talks with U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, who is on his first trip to China since 2007. Gates is on a mission to restore high-level military contacts with the People’s Liberation Army following Beijing’s decision to cut those ties a year ago, when the United States announced a $6.4 billion arms sale to Taiwan…

Liang’s lukewarm reaction to Gates’s proposals reflects a continued uncertainty within the PLA about whether to embrace better ties with the United States; it also underscores the sense that the PLA was strong-armed by China’s political leadership into welcoming Gates to China for this trip.