Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, will travel to China next month.
Dempsey’s Beijing plans first were reported last week by Chinese media, but Pentagon officials kept quiet about the trip. The chairman confirmed his upcoming travel with a passing mention during his appearance at a luncheon Monday in Washington.
Dempsey’s spokesman, Col. David Lapan, said trip details are still being worked out. The visit by Dempsey, President Obama’s senior military advisor, is scheduled to follow trips by Secretary of State John Kerry and Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew.
"General Dempsey looks forward to visiting China next month to enhance cooperation on shared security interests and strengthen our relationship," Lapan said. Dempsey spoke with Gen. Fang Fenghui, chief of the General Staff of the People's Liberation Army, last week. "They discussed the upcoming visit, strengthening ties, and regional security issues."
It comes on the heels of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s order to boost anti-ballistic missile defenses on the West Coast of the United States in response to North Korea threats. China criticized the move as adding risk to the situation. A spokesman said Hagel’s move “can only deepen antagonism,”
according to the New York Times.