Hagel Visit To China

By Christopher J. Castelli / July 12, 2013 at 6:45 PM

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, who will host China's defense minister at the Pentagon next month, will travel to China in 2014, the Obama administration announced today following bilateral talks between China and the U.S.

Hagel's trip, which is not unexpected, is the latest in a string of high-level bilateral visits intended to boost military-to-military ties. The State Department announced the trip in a list of decisions stemming from this week's Strategic and Economic Dialogue, the related Strategic Security Dialogue and the first meeting of the Cyber Working Group, all of which were held in Washington.

Beyond agreeing to strengthen military-to-military ties, U.S. and Chinese officials also decided to "actively explore a notification mechanism for major military activities," the State Department's statement notes without elaborating. Also, the two sides decided to hold an informal round of the Strategic Security Dialogue later this year.

"On Monday, at the first meeting of the U.S.-China cyber working group, we raised directly our concerns with respect to the theft of intellectual property, trade secrets, and confidential business information for economic gain," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Thursday. "And we stressed the need to address these concerns, including through the working group, and are continuing to discuss these issues at the Strategic and Economic Dialogue."

The Cyber Working Group talks included "candid, in-depth, and constructive dialogue," including "in-depth discussion on issues of mutual concern," the State Department said. The two sides agreed to "take practical measures to enhance dialogue on international norms and principles" to guide actions in cyberspace and to strengthen ties between computer emergency response teams, the statement adds. U.S. and Chinese officials decided to hold the next cyber meeting by the end of the year.

Meanwhile, Hagel and China's State Councilor Yang Jiechi met at the Pentagon today to discuss the U.S.-China military relationship. The defense secretary, who has known Yang for years, said he looks forward to hosting Minister of National Defense Gen. Chang Wanquan next month.

Hagel was "pleased that the day-long security dialogue expanded this year to include nuclear policy and missile defense issues," DOD said in a statement, and he "affirmed the importance of the inaugural cyber discussion, which will serve as a platform to build better understanding and increase practical cooperation in cyberspace, and enhanced cooperation on regional security issues of concern to both of us, including North Korea."

During this week's talks, U.S. and Chinese officials "affirmed their intention to enhance communication and cooperation on nonproliferation, arms control, and other major international security issues on the basis of mutual respect, equality, and mutual benefit," the State Department noted. The two sides agreed to hold U.S.-China Counter-Terrorism Consultations at the vice ministerial level "in due course."