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US, Chinese Militaries Pledge Greater Cooperation: Gen. Chen Bingde, Chief of the General Staff of the People's Liberation Army, said last week he had a "very frank, in-depth and fruitful discussion" with Adm. Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, on "further building" the two nations' bilateral military ties. "We are ready to work with the American side" as part of the broader state-to-state exchange, said Chen, during a joint press conference with Mullen. "We share a broad consensus on some major issues. Certainly we also disagree on some other issues," Chen said. The two sides have agreed to conduct joint maritime exercises in the Gulf of Aden and elsewhere, said Chen. Mullen noted that they will also hold a joint humanitarian- and disaster-relief exercise next year. Mullen said the talks were candid and "based on mutual respect, mutual cooperation, and mutual benefits," and hopefully would lead to "mutual transparency about what we are doing, how much we are spending and where we are operating." (Mullen-Chen transcript)