"The two sides should, within the framework of building a China-U.S. cooperative partnership, promote a new type of military relations featuring equality, reciprocity and win-win cooperation in an active and pragmatic way," Defense Minister Liang Guanglie said.
Liang made the remarks during a joint press conference held with visiting U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta after their talks on bilateral military ties.
China and the U.S. should explore a path of coexistence and establish a new type of relations that corresponds to their influence, Liang said.
He called on both sides to increase mutual trust, enhance their understanding of their respective defense policies and strategic trends and increase dialogue and communication.
The two militaries need to abandon zero-sum thinking and strengthen mutually beneficial cooperation, Liang said.
Both sides also need to properly solve disputes and differences and respect each other's core interests and concerns, he added. ' Liang encouraged the two militaries to deepen substantial cooperation in areas of non-traditional security, such as humanitarian rescues, anti-piracy efforts and medical assistance.
Panetta said a stable and constructive U.S.-China relationship is absolutely a vital component of U.S. strategy.
"We won't achieve security and prosperity in the 21st century without a constructive U.S.-China relationship. including a stronger military-to-military relationship," said Panetta.
Panetta said the U.S. and China have begun a process of positive exchanges. "The point of this is to send a very positive signal to all the nations of this region and the world that we intend to establish a relationship that is healthy, stable, reliable, and continuous."
Liang and Panetta exchanged views on U.S. weapon sales to Taiwan, the Diaoyu Islands, the rebalancing of U.S. policy, the South China Sea, cyberspace and outer space security.
Xu Caihou, vice chairman of the Central Military Commission, also met with Panetta on Tuesday, expressing China's will to develop a new type of military ties.
Enhancing strategic mutual trust is the basis of the stable development of bilateral military ties, said Xu, adding that China hopes to engage in benign and cooperative interaction with the U.S.
Stressing that the United States and China enjoy extensive common interests, Panetta said it is conducive for both countries, the Asia-Pacific region and the entire world to maintain the healthy development of bilateral military ties.
He hailed a successful joint counter-piracy exercise conducted by the navies of both sides in the Gulf of Aden earlier this week.
"These exercises enhance the ability of our navies to work together to combat the common threat of piracy," Panetta said.
To build on this positive momentum, Panetta said the U.S. navy will invite China to send a ship to participate in RIMPAC 2014 exercise, which, hosted by the U.S. Navy's Pacific Command, is the world's largest international maritime exercise.
Panetta also said the U.S. intends to establish a relationship with China that is healthy, stable, reliable and continuous.
"The key is to have senior-level interactions that we are engaging in to reduce the potential of miscalculation, and boost real understanding and expand trust between our countries," he said.
Panetta arrived in Beijing Monday evening, starting his first visit to China as Pentagon chief.
China is the second stop on his weeklong Asia-Pacific visit, which also took him to Japan and will end with a stop in New Zealand.