US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta warned at a joint press conference with his Chinese counterpart, Liang Guanglie, that the US and China must work together to avoid conflict, Reuters reported. “The United States and China are powers in the Pacific and our goal is to establish a constructive relationship for the future,” said Panetta. “It is essential for our two nations to communicate effectively on a range of very challenging issues.” Liang, the first Chinese defense minister to visit the US in almost nine years, invited Panetta to visit China later this year. Relations between the two countries’ militaries have often been testy, and Pentagon officials see military-to-military communication as a means to reduce potential miscalculations. China’s military will undergo a leadership transition this year and appears to be grappling with the downfall of Politburo member Bo Xilai, who had close connections with some generals.