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China gives US defence chief a tour of its aircraft carrier

US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel arrives at Yokota Air Force Base in Fussa, Japan on April 5, 2014US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel got a first-hand look at China’s new aircraft carrier on Monday as Beijing offered an unprecedented glimpse into its growing military clout. Hagel praised the ship tour as a promising step forward for a fledgling US dialogue with the often secretive People’s Liberation Army (PLA), but the two sides remained deeply divided on cyber-spying and regional territorial disputes. “He understands how significant it was for the PLA to grant his request for a tour, and he was impressed by the professionalism of the officers and crew,” Pentagon press secretary Rear Admiral John Kirby said. Hagel’s two-hour visit to the carrier in the port city of Qingdao kicked off a three-day trip to China, and officials said he was the first foreigner allowed aboard the vessel by the PLA.

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