Hagel says he will visit China next year

WASHINGTON (AP) — Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel says he will visit China next year as part of a push to increase high-level contacts between senior U.S. and Chinese defense leaders.

At a Pentagon news conference with his Chinese counterpart, Hagel said the chiefs of the U.S. Army and Air Force will make separate visits to China later this year.

Hagel said the goal is to build more trust between the two nations’ militaries in hopes of avoiding unintended tensions or military miscalculations.

The Chinese minister, Gen. Chang Wanquan, said China seeks peace but should not be underestimated in its determination to defend its sovereignty.

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