The commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet says the American military would consider sending officers and cadets to China on study exchange programs if relations between the two countries improve.

Adm. Patrick Walsh told The Associated Press on the sidelines of a naval conference in Singapore on Thursday that the U.S. is seeking to improve its ties with the Chinese military.

Walsh says President Barack Obama and Defense Secretary Robert Gates have been in talks to restore military-to-military relations. Early last year China angrily cut off most military-to-military contacts after the United States announced a $6.4 billion arms sale to Taiwan, the self-governing island that China considers a renegade province.