China Passes on Visit by Defense Chief Gates

China has ruled out a stopover by U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who had hoped to make improved military ties with Beijing the centerpiece of his trip to Asia this week.

Gates leaves Wednesday for an around-the-world trip that will take him to countries in Asia and Europe, but aides said China has explained that this is not a convenient time.

Beijing didn't elaborate, but China leaders were angered by the Obama administration's recent decision to go ahead with arms sales to Taiwan worth more than $6 billion.

Gates will spend the weekend meeting with defense officials from every other major Asian power during a security conference in Singapore.

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