Hagel Hosts Chinese Counterpart for Security Talks

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Global Security Newswire Staff
Aug. 19, 2013, 6:02 a.m.

U.S. De­fense Sec­ret­ary Chuck Hagel on Monday for the first time hos­ted his Chinese equi­val­ent, Gen. Chang Wan­quan, for bi­lat­er­al se­cur­ity talks in Wash­ing­ton that were ex­pec­ted to touch on  Wash­ing­ton’s mis­sile de­fense plans and frus­tra­tion with Chinese cy­ber es­pi­on­age, the As­so­ci­ated Press re­por­ted.

Beijing has pre­vi­ously voiced con­cern over U.S. plans to de­ploy an­ti­mis­sile ele­ments in the Asia-Pa­cific. Wash­ing­ton claims its mis­sile de­fense plans are not part of a scheme to con­tain China’s grow­ing mil­it­ary clout but rather to de­ter pos­sible North Korean pro­voca­tions and provide re­as­sur­ance to Asi­an al­lies.

A Pentagon re­port pub­lished earli­er this year found that the blue­prints for a num­ber of U.S. bal­list­ic mis­sile in­ter­cept­ors with de­fens­ive roles in the Asia-Pa­cific re­gion had been hacked. The Chinese gov­ern­ment is thought to have been re­spons­ible for that cy­ber spy­ing.

Hagel pre­vi­ously spoke with Chang in April, ac­cord­ing to an uniden­ti­fied high-rank­ing De­fense De­part­ment of­fi­cial.

“The vis­it that’s go­ing on now sus­tains the reg­u­lar set of in­ter­ac­tions between the two lead­ers that re­flects the pos­it­ive nature of the U.S.-China mil­it­ary-to-mil­it­ary re­la­tion­ship,” the of­fi­cial said in a Pentagon press story.