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U.S., China to Share Details of Military Plans


BEIJING — Sometime in the next month a team of Pentagon officials will travel to Beijing to give a "detailed briefing" to Chinese military officers about the U.S. defense budget and overall strategic goals.

In exchange, said U.S. Secretary of Defense William J. Perry at a news conference Tuesday in Beijing, the U.S. government has invited Chinese defense officials to Washington to deliver reciprocal briefings about the budget, policy and strategy of the People's Liberation Army.

Five years ago, in the aftermath of the Chinese army crackdown on demonstrators in Tian An Men Square, such an exchange would have been unimaginable. But Perry, who is concluding a four-day visit to China today, said the briefings will promote a confidence-building "transparency" between the two huge military establishments.

In a series of meetings with senior Chinese military and civilian officials, Perry outlined a program aimed at restoring military ties that were severed by former President George Bush in 1989, following the Tian An Men crackdown.

On the heels of a trip to Beijing in late August by Commerce Secretary Ronald H. Brown, who brought 25 senior business executives with him in an effort to stimulate trade, the Perry visit is the latest in a series of moves by the Clinton Administration to normalize relations with China. Perry is the first American defense secretary to come here since 1988.

Among the more dramatic U.S. proposals carried by Perry were an offer to share computer technology that simulates nuclear testing and another offer to help the Chinese modernize air-traffic control equipment.

Perry said the Chinese informed the Americans that they plan to continue their program of underground nuclear testing until 1996. The Chinese have conducted two such tests in the past four months.

The air-traffic control proposal, meanwhile, has obvious implications for several U.S. companies that are in competition with foreign firms to win what is likely to be a multibillion-dollar contract to revamp the military-run system.

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