SINGAPORE -- U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates says China's military isn't as interested in developing a better relationship with the United States as its political leaders are.

Gates says he is disappointed that China disinvited him for a proposed visit that he had hoped would signal stronger ties between the U.S. and Chinese militaries.

Gates is in Singapore for three days of security talks with Asian powers. He had hoped to visit China afterward.

Gates says establishing better ties between the militaries could provide clarity and confidence for both sides. He says the U.S.-Chinese military relationship lags behind the political and economic ones.

In a speech this weekend, Gates will tell other Asian powers that the U.S. and China cannot afford to be in the dark about one another's intentions.