The unexpected visit by a senior Chinese military official to the United States is widely seen as being linked with territorial tensions in Northeast Asia, and analysts said the Diaoyu Islands issue would be discussed by the two militaries.
Cai Yingting, deputy chief of the general staff of the People's Liberation Army, left Beijing on Monday for an official visit to the US. This is the second visit by a senior Chinese military official to the US in three months. Defense Minister Liang Guanglie paid a six-day visit to the country in May.
Neither China nor the US announced Cai's visit in advance. He is widely believed to be talking to Washington about the escalating tension between China and Japan over the islands, to which Japan also lays claim, although it is indisputable Chinese territory.
Cai's entourage includes several chiefs of Chinese military areas and Chen Shoumin, deputy head of the strategic planning department of the PLA General Staff Headquarters. This group is likely to work on more specific and transparent development plans for the two militaries. The South China Sea and the Diaoyu Islands are issues of common concern at the top of the discussion agenda, said Zhai Dequan, deputy secretary-general of the China Arms Control and Disarmament Association.
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