BEIJING — China said Aug. 30 that U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta will visit in mid-September, the latest in a flurry of diplomatic activity between the two countries.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is due to visit Beijing next week to discuss major issues concerning the world’s two largest economies, including maritime disputes between China and its Asian neighbors.
Panetta’s visit is part of planned military-to-military exchanges and follows a trip by China’s Defence Minister Liang Guanglie to the United States in May, a spokesman for the defense ministry said.
Spokesman Geng Yansheng said China and the United States plan other military exchanges and joint exercises aimed at combating piracy, according to a transcript of a news conference posted on the ministry’s website.
During Liang’s trip, the first visit by a Chinese defense minister to Washington in nine years, the two countries announced plans for a joint counter-piracy naval exercise in the Gulf of Aden later this year.
But China has voiced worries over the U.S. “pivot” towards Asia and state media has accused Washington of seeking “dominance and hegemony” in the Asia-Pacific region.