A TOP Chinese military officer has raised concerns with the Rudd Government about the focus on his country as a possible future threat to Australia.The People’s Liberation Army chief of general staff, General Chen Bingde, met the Defence Minister, John Faulkner, and armed forces chiefs in Canberra to discuss a range of defence and security issues at their annual ”strategic dialogue”.Senator Faulkner said he had enjoyed a full and frank conversation with General Chen and he had accepted an invitation to visit Beijing next year for more discussions.The defence white papers produced by each country were discussed, with both nations emphasising the need to maintain stability in the region.Issues of concern included North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs and counter-piracy operations off Somalia.The Chinese delegation will visit several defence establishments and will have more talks with officials over the next week.General Chen met the chief of Defence Force, Angus Houston, and the Defence Department secretary, Ian Watt.The general was accompanied by senior military officers including the deputy commanders of China’s navy and air force.Dr Watt said the delegations discussed emerging strategic trends and agreed to co-operate in matters including education and areas of shared interest such as disaster relief and maritime security.Senator Faulkner said talks with General Chen were frank and productive, with firm agreement that stability in Asia was crucial to the future of both countries at a time of great change.Air Chief Marshal Houston said it was imperative that nations were able to respond to strategic challenges in a co-operative and co-ordinated way.”You only have to look to multilateral counter-piracy efforts off the Horn of Africa, to which both China and Australia contribute, to see the value of solid defence engagement and dialogue,” he said.
Nanjing Night Net