Diplomacy is sure to be emphasized during a top Chinese military official’s six-day visit to the United States, but tensions remain high in the South China Sea, where Beijing continues to assert itself in territorial disputes.
On Thursday, the general will hold talks at the Pentagon with US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, officials told Agence France-Presse.
“Turning an underwater rock into an airfield simply does not afford the rights of sovereignty or permit restrictions on international air or maritime transit,” Carter said at the International Institute for Strategic Studies conference.
Earlier this month, President Barack Obama also warned Beijing over its tactics, saying territorial disputes could not be solved by “throwing elbows.”
The general’s visit 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, AFP reported.
Carter’s predecessor, Chuck Hagel, visited China last year in a trip that was marked by friction, with each side trading sharply-worded criticism.