The U.S. Defense Department said Fan Changlong, deputy head of China’s Central Military Commission is coming to the Pentagon and will meet with Defense Secretary Ash Carter on Thursday.
On Monday, Fan is in San Diego, California to visit Naval Air Station North Island. He will also visit the USS Ronald Reagan and make some other stops en route to Washington.
On Friday, Fan visits both the White House and the State Department before traveling from the U.S. to Cancun, Mexico.
U.S. officials describe the visit as routine and previously scheduled. But they say Carter will raise concerns about the South China Sea, as well as “items of mutual concern.”
Fan's trip comes a week after the United States confirmed a massive hack of millions of U.S. government personnel files at the Office of Personnel Management.
China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei called the accusations “irresponsible” and noted that China also is a victim of cyberattacks.
On Sunday, the Chairman of the House of Representatives Homeland Security Committee, Congressman Michael McCaul, says ‘threat indicators’ point to China as being responsible for the hacking. Appearing on U.S. television Sunday, CBS’ Face the Nation, he said the OPM hacking is the most significant breach of federal networks in U.S. history.
Accusations of a Chinese role in the attack, including possible state sponsorship, could further strain ties between Washington and Beijing.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.