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CSAF concludes counterpart visit

HONG KONG (AFNS) -- Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III, Gen. “Hawk” Carlisle, the Pacific Air Forces commander, and Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James A. Cody met with Chinese military counterparts to discuss opportunities to build trust and cooperation as part of a weeklong visit to China.

Welsh, Carlisle and Cody met with Vice Chairman of the Central Military Commission Gen. Xu Qiliang, People’s Liberation Army Air Force Commander Gen. Ma Xiaotian and various other military, civil and political leadership in Beijing, Hangzhou and Hong Kong Sep. 24 to Oct. 1. They also toured the Great Wall of China and West Lake to learn more about some of China's history and culture.

“I believe real partnerships between nations begin with real partnerships between people,” Welsh said. “Airmen understand Airmen and the value of airpower, our relationship with the PLAAF is important for many reasons and we look forward to working to strengthen it together.”

Discussions with Xu and Ma underscored the importance of the U.S.-China military-to-military relationship and accomplishments that have already been achieved. They discussed efforts to advance military-to-military relations in the future, building upon opportunities to expand cooperation in areas of mutual interest, including senior level exchanges, military medicine, military education exchanges, search and rescue, humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, and air-to-air safety.

Welsh’s wife, Betty, and Cody’s wife, Athena, also participated in the visit and met with PLAAF spouses and family members, offering a unique opportunity to discuss similarities and opportunities in the area of airmen and family care.

On invitation from the Chinese government, Welsh is the first U.S. Air Force chief of staff in 15 years to visit the country.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced the trip in August as one of several visits by U.S. senior military leadership and reciprocal Chinese military leadership visits to the United States during the remainder of this year and in 2014.

“The China-U.S. relationship is important for stability and security in the Asia Pacific and achieving security and prosperity for our two nations in the 21st century,” Hagel said. “A sustained, substantive military-to-military relationship is an important pillar for this strong bilateral relationship.

(Information courtesy of Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs)
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