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US, China armies to start institutional talks

world Updated: Feb 23, 2014 00:23 IST

Notwithstanding the current row over the meeting between President Barack Obama and the Dalai Lama, the US and China are working to establish institutional dialogue between their two armies.

"It is a very important first step," General Ray Odierno, US Army chief of staff told reporters here noting that the dialogue is the first time at institutional level and is "more long-term and more long-standing."

The first meeting of the dialogue is expected to be held this year, he said.

He said the dialogue would include humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, peacekeeping and various military exchanges. Odierno is on his first visit to China as US army chief. His trip is focused on improving the military-to-military relationship between China and the US.

He said he believes that the two militaries have a lot in common and that it is important to emphasise engagement, dialogue, understanding and trust.