U.S. Army Chief meets top Chinese military officials: Beijing

Updated: 00:00 GMT, Jan 1, 1970 | Published: 11:19 GMT, Aug 16, 2016 |

Army Chief of Staff General Mark Milley met Chinese General Li Zuocheng in Beijing on Tuesday (16th Aug).

Milley attended a formal welcoming ceremony before sitting down with Li and other Chinese military officials for talks.

Milley’s visit comes a few weeks after National Security Advisor Susan Rice praised confidence building measures between China and the U.S. militaries, saying communication between the two sides had never been so frequent.

The United States and China have increasingly been at odds over China’s claims to most of the South China Sea, a waterway through which $5 trillion of trade moves annually, where the United States has sought to assert its right to freedom of navigation.

China has stepped up its rhetoric in defence of its claims since an international court ruled in July that China did not have historic rights to the waters, raising concern that China would assert its position more forcefully.

There have been at least two close contacts between the two militaries within the past two months alone, with the U.S. accusing China of shadowing an aircraft carrier in the South China Sea and of unsafely intercepting a spy plane in the East China Sea, where China has competing territorial claims with Japan.