World

Hagel says he will visit China next year

WASHINGTON — Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced Monday he will visit China next year to capitalize on an improving trend in US-China relations, even as Beijing casts a wary eye on the Pentagon’s strategic ‘‘pivot’’ to Asia and the Pacific.

During a break in meetings at the Pentagon, Hagel and his Chinese counterpart, General Chang Wanquan, told reporters they see room for greater US-China military cooperation, including joint exercises and high-level visits.

Advertisement

Chang affirmed that China’s navy next year will participate for the first time in a major international maritime exercise known as Rim of the Pacific.

Hagel said he accepted Chang’s invitation to visit Beijing in 2014.

Get Today's Headlines in your inbox:
The day's top stories delivered every morning.
Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here

Chang and Hagel both spoke hopefully of building greater trust between the two nations’ militaries and chipping away at long-held suspicions. But Chang cautioned against mistaking his country’s friendliness for weakness.

‘‘No one should fantasize that China would barter away our core interests, and no one should underestimate our will and determination in defending our territory, sovereignty and maritime rights,’’ Chang said through an interpreter.

He appeared to be referring to China’s disputes with Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines and other Asian nations over territorial boundaries in the South China Sea.

Advertisement

Hagel alluded to these tensions, saying in a statement that while the United States does not take sides in territorial claims, it encourages all parties to avoid allowing tensions to escalate into armed conflict.

Associated Press

Loading comments...
Real journalists. Real journalism. Subscribe to The Boston Globe today.
We hope you've enjoyed your free articles.
Continue reading by subscribing to Globe.com for just 99¢.
 Already a member? Log in Home
Subscriber Log In

We hope you've enjoyed your 5 free articles'

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com