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US to counter Chinese arms

The Pentagon is stepping up investments in a range of weapons, jet fighters and technology in response to the Chinese military buildup in the Pacific, Defense Secretary Robert M Gates said on Saturday on the eve of his visit to Beijing.

world Updated: Jan 09, 2011 23:43 IST

The Pentagon is stepping up investments in a range of weapons, jet fighters and technology in response to the Chinese military buildup in the Pacific, defense secretary Robert M Gates said on Saturday on the eve of his visit to Beijing.

Despite billions of dollars in proposed Pentagon budget cuts that Gates announced this past week, he said that the Chinese development of its first radar-evading fighter jet, as well as an antiship ballistic missile that could hit American aircraft carriers, had persuaded him to make improvements in American weaponry a priority.

"They clearly have potential to put some of our capabilities at risk, and we have to pay attention to them, we have to respond appropriately with our own programs," Gates said.

Gates made his comments to reporters on his plane en route to Beijing, where he is due to arrive Sunday for three days of talks with Chinese generals and President Hu Jintao that are meant to promote a more open and stable relationship between the American and Chinese militaries.

It is unclear what effect Gates' comments will have on the talks, which are occurring a week before President Hu is to meet with President Obama in Washington.

The American weapons that Gates was referring to included investments in a new long-range nuclear-capable bomber aircraft, which the Pentagon had stopped developing in 2009, as well as a new generation of electronic jammers for the Navy that are designed to thwart a missile from finding and hitting a target.