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Pentagon chief's visit exposes US-China divide

Chuck Hagel (left) and Chinese Minister of Defense Chang Wanquan listen to the US national anthem during a welcoming ceremony at the Chinese Defense Ministry headquarters in Beijing on April 8, 2014Visiting US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Chinese military chiefs traded warnings and rebukes Tuesday as they clashed over Beijing’s territorial disputes with its neighbours, North Korea’s missile programme and cyber espionage. Both sides were clearly at odds over a litany of issues, despite Hagel and his counterpart General Chang Wanquan calling for more dialogue between the world’s strongest and largest militaries, with the American coming under hostile questioning from a roomful of People’s Liberation Army officers. One member of the audience told Hagel the United States feared China’s rise and was sowing trouble among its Pacific neighbours to “hamper” Beijing because one day “China will be too big a challenge for the United States to cope with”.

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