Top main­land Chi­nese mil­i­tary of­fi­cer meets with US de­fense sec­re­tary

The China Post - - SPORTS -

A top Chi­nese mil­i­tary of­fi­cer met with U.S. Sec­re­tary of De­fense Ash­ton Carter at the U.S. De­fense Depart­ment on Thurs­day, but Bei­jing asked for limited me­dia at­ten­tion around the visit amid strains over the South China Sea.

Carter had in­vited Gen. Fan Chang­long, vice-chair­man of China’s Cen­tral Mil­i­tary Com­mis­sion, to the Pen­tagon but un­like some pre­vi­ous trips, in­clud­ing one last year, there was no joint press con­fer­ence.

“The Chi­nese did re­quest that there not be a lot of me­dia at­ten­tion around this trip,” Pen­tagon spokesman Col. Steve War­ren said, with­out giv­ing fur­ther de­tails.

Carter and other top U.S. of­fi­cials have re­cently cas­ti­gated China over its push to build ar­ti­fi­cial is­lands in the dis­puted wa­ters of the South China Sea. At a re­cent se­cu­rity con­fer­ence in Sin­ga­pore, Carter called for an im­me­di­ate end to land recla­ma­tion by coun­tries in the re­gion, and ac­cused China of be­ing out of step with in­ter­na­tional rules.

Prior to vis­it­ing Wash­ing­ton, Fan went to Cal­i­for­nia and Texas. His trip is part of a years-long ef­fort to build a regular dia­logue be­tween the Amer­i­can and Chi­nese armed forces to defuse po­ten­tial ten­sions and avoid mis­cal­cu­la­tions.

“We here in the Pen­tagon are very happy to be host­ing our Chi­nese coun­ter­parts,” War­ren said. “They’ll dis­cuss ar­eas of mu­tual in­ter­est, things we need to dis­cuss,” he added.

Carter’s pre­de­ces­sor, Chuck Hagel, paid a visit to China in 2014 in a trip that was marked by fric­tion, with each side trad­ing sharply worded crit­i­cism.

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