08 Jul '11, 6pm

Mullen heads to China amid plans for US naval drill: The top US military officer departs for China

The top US military officer left for China in a trip designed to bolster a fledgling security dialogue with Beijing, even as a US naval exercise in the South China Sea threatens to upstage his visit. Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, on Friday began the four-day tour that will include talks with senior officers and a visit to military units, officials said. Mullen -- who in May hosted his Chinese counterpart, People's Liberation Army Chief of General Staff Chen Bingde -- "looks forward to continuing the engagement and dialogue" with Chen in Beijing, the Pentagon said in a statement. But the admiral's trip coincides with a joint naval exercise set for Saturday with the US, Japanese and Australian navies in the South China Sea, where China has asserted territorial claims. US and Japanese officials said the exercise will include the Japanese destr...

Full article: http://sg.news.yahoo.com/mullen-heads-china-amid-plans-us...

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