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.