TOKYO (AP) — U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel was expected to get a rare tour today of China’s first aircraft carrier, becoming the first foreign visitor to go aboard the ship.
A senior defense official said Hagel requested the visit, which comes a day after he told reporters that China must better respect its neighbors — a pointed allusion to Beijing’s ongoing territorial dispute with Japan and others over remote islands in the East China Sea.
He also has continued to urge Beijing to be more transparent about its expanding military.
Hagel is on a 10-day trip to the Asia Pacific region. He is scheduled to meet with senior Chinese leaders before traveling to Mongolia, then returning home.