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Coleman to meet China’s top military officer

Coleman to meet China’s top military officer

Defence Minister Jonathan Coleman will hold talks on Monday with General Fan Changlong.

“As the top uniformed officer in the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and the most senior Chinese officer to visit New Zealand since 2010, General Fan’s visit reflects the excellent state of our bilateral relationship,” says Dr Coleman.

“I look forward to meeting with General Fan and welcoming him to New Zealand. It will be a good opportunity to progress our defence engagement, and to discuss current regional security issues.”

“The NZDF is keen to continue to build its engagement with the PLA. New Zealand and China are currently participating in RIMPAC in Hawaii, the world’s largest maritime exercise involving 22 countries.

“In February, the Navy hosted its largest exercise in decades, with 14 nations including China taking part in a Mine Counter Measures exercise. Last August, the NZDF hosted Australian, US and Chinese military personnel for the first time for Exercise Phoenix Spirit, a disaster relief activity.”

General Fan is visiting New Zealand from 19-22 July as part of a wider visit to the region. He is Vice Chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC) and the second most senior CMC member after President Xi Jinping. His visit programme includes a call on Prime Minister John Key and meetings with senior Defence officials.

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