News / Asia

US Defense Chief, in First, to Visit Chinese Aircraft Carrier

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel walks off an aircraft upon his arrival at Yokota Air Force Base in Fussa, Japan, April 5, 2014.U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel walks off an aircraft upon his arrival at Yokota Air Force Base in Fussa, Japan, April 5, 2014.
x
U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel walks off an aircraft upon his arrival at Yokota Air Force Base in Fussa, Japan, April 5, 2014.
U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel walks off an aircraft upon his arrival at Yokota Air Force Base in Fussa, Japan, April 5, 2014.
Reuters
U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel expects to visit China's sole aircraft carrier when he arrives in the country on Monday, a U.S. official said, in an unprecedented opening by Beijing to a potent symbol of its military buildup.

The planned carrier visit, which will come at the start of Hagel's three-day trip to China, was quietly approved by Beijing at Washington's request and had not been previously announced, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The Liaoning, a Soviet-era ship bought from Ukraine in 1998 and re-fitted in a Chinese shipyard, has been seen as a sign of Beijing's ambition for greater global influence and a reminder of its growing military might.

Hagel will fly to China's port city of Qingdao after a trip to Japan, and then head to a Chinese naval base. While there, he will visit the Liaoning, the official said.

Reporters traveling with Hagel were not expected to accompany him on the vessel.

A visit to China's aircraft carrier would not only be a first for a U.S. defense secretary.

The U.S. official believed Hagel would be the first official visitor from outside China to be allowed on board, although that could not be immediately confirmed.

The disclosure of the carrier visit came a day after Hagel said he would use his first trip to China as defense secretary to press Beijing to use its “great power” wisely and respect its neighbors, who have been put on edge by its increasingly muscular military.

”Coercion, intimidation is a very deadly thing that leads only to conflict,” he said at a news conference on Sunday at Japan's defense ministry. “All nations, all people deserve respect,” he added.

China is locked in bitter territorial disputes with some of its neighbors, especially Vietnam and the Philippines, over claims to parts of the potentially oil and gas-rich South China Sea. China has a separate dispute with Japan in the East China Sea over a group of uninhabited islets.

Hagel, in his talks in Japan over the weekend and last week at a gathering of Southeast Asian defense chiefs in Hawaii, has sought to reassure allies of the U.S. security commitment to the region and has promised frank discussions in China.

China, in turn, has repeatedly urged the United States not to take sides in any of these disputes, and has watched warily as Washington moves to strengthen its military alliances in the region, especially with Tokyo and Manila.

You May Like

French Refugee Drama Wins Cannes Top Prize

Dheepan is about a group of Sri Lankan refugees who pretend to be a family in order to flee their war-torn country for a housing project in France More

Photogallery Crisis in Macedonia Requires Meaningful and Swift Measures

The international community has called on Macedonian leadership to take concrete measures in support of democracy in order to exit the crisis More

Activists: IS Executes 217 Civilians, Soldiers Near Palmyra

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights on Sunday said the victims include nurses, women, children and Syrian government fighters More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmakingi
X
Bernard Shusman
May 24, 2015 2:55 PM
According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.
Video

Video Effort Underway to Limit Damage from California Oil Spill

Cleanup crews are working around the clock to remove oil from the waters off the coastal city of Santa Barbara, in California. About 380,000 liters of oil may have leaked out before a rupture in an onshore, underground pipeline was discovered Tuesday. The environmental disaster hit the popular West Coast resort area before the Memorial Day weekend. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports investigators have yet to determine what caused the incident.

VOA Blogs