Beijing: US Defence Secretary Robert
Gates, a former chief of America`s top spy agency, on Tuesday said
that US and Chinese intelligence services cooperate more than
the two countries` armed forces.
Asked at a briefing in Beijing if ties between
intelligence agencies could serve as a model for improving
strained US-China military relations, the CIA veteran said:
"The way I would put it is that I had an association with
certain relationships that remain largely unaffected, as I
used the term yesterday, by shifting political winds.
"I would like to see the military-to-military
relationship in the same category."
His comments marked a rare public acknowledgement of
long-standing, behind-the-scenes communications between
leading intelligence officers in both countries, despite
strains that have repeatedly disrupted US-China military
China in recent years has suspended defence contacts
over US arms sales to Taiwan, but during his visit this week
to Beijing Gates appealed for a permanent security dialogue
that would not be linked to "shifting political winds."
During the Cold War, Gates rose through the ranks as
an analyst to become a senior official at the Central
Intelligence Agency, eventually serving as its director from
1991 to 1993.