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China shows off new aircraft carrier to US defence chief

Published on Apr 7, 2014 7:49 AM
(From left) US Secretary of Defence Chuck Hagel, US Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy and Commander of US Force Japan Lieutenant General Salvatore Angelella observing a moment of silence after Mr Hagel laid a wreath at the JSDF Memorial at the Japanese Ministry of Defence in Tokyo on April 6, 2014. Mr Hagel visits China after his Japan stop. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

TOKYO (AFP) - China will show off its new aircraft carrier to US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel on Monday, allowing the Pentagon chief a first-hand look at a symbol of the country's growing military prowess.

Hagel will kick off a three-day tour of China with a visit to the carrier at Yuchi naval base in Qingdao, the first foreigner allowed aboard the vessel by the often secretive Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA), officials said.

The carrier visit was "significant" as Washington has tried to forge a dialogue with China's top brass to defuse tensions and prodded Beijing to be more open about its military, said a senior US defence official.

"We requested this and they agreed," said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

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