BEIJING (AFP) - China said Friday the onus was on the United States to keep defence ties between the nations stable, state media reported, as its second-ranking military officer prepared to travel to Washington. Qian Lihua, Defence Ministry spokesman, said that after the new US administration came to power, US officials recognised the importance of maintaining and developing military ties, the official China News Service said. But the key to whether this momentum can be maintained long-term and in a stable fashion lies in whether the US can really respect Chinas core interests and concerns, Qian was quoted as saying. It also lies in whether Washington can properly handle a series of important issues in bilateral relations, including the Taiwan issue, and firm up the political foundation of the development of military ties, he added. General Xu Caihou, Vice-Chairman of Chinas central military commission, is to hold high-level meetings in the US from October 24-31, and visit military commands and bases across the country. Military relations between the two nations have been strained in recent years. China is in the midst of a drive to modernise its armed forces and has announced large military budget increases in recent years, prompting US officials to question Beijings intentions. The two nations also experienced a series of standoffs involving Chinese vessels and US navy ships in waters off China earlier this year. China also cut military exchanges with the US for months last year over a proposed 6.5-billion-dollar US arms package to Taiwan, but agreed to resume them in February. Taiwan is a particularly sensitive issue for China, which considers the self-ruled island part of its territory awaiting reunification, by force if necessary. Qian said Xus visit aimed to strengthen understanding, improve trust, develop friendship, expand cooperation, and further promote the development of military ties, the report said.