Top US general Dunford says committed to working through difficulties with China

US General Joseph Dunford speaking during a meeting with Chinese General Fang Fenghui, at the Bayi Building in Beijing on Aug 15, 2017.
US General Joseph Dunford speaking during a meeting with Chinese General Fang Fenghui, at the Bayi Building in Beijing on Aug 15, 2017.PHOTO: AFP

BEIJING (Reuters) - There are many difficult issues between the United States and China but both share a commitment to work through them, the United States' top general said on Tuesday (Aug 15) during a visit to Beijing amid tensions over nuclear-armed North Korea.

"I think we have to be honest. We have many, many difficult issues where we don't necessarily share the same perspective,"Joseph Dunford, Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, told Fang Fenghui, chief of the Joint Staff Department of the People's Liberation Army.

"We share a commitment to work through these difficult issues," he added, without elaborating.

Fang said China attached great important to his visit and had arranged a visit for him to view a military exercise.

There was no mention of specific issues in comments made in front of reporters.

The United States has called on China to do more to rein in its isolated neighbour North Korea, while China has said it is Washington that needs to be making more efforts to lessen tensions and speak directly to Pyongyang.

North Korea's leader has delayed a decision on firing missiles towards Guam while he watches US actions a little longer, the North's state media said on Tuesday, as South Korea's president said Seoul would seek to prevent war by all means.

China and the United States, the world's two largest economies, say they are committed to having a stable military-to-military relationship, but there are deep fault lines.

China has been angered by US freedom of navigation patrols near Chinese-controlled islands in the disputed South China Sea and continued US arms sales and support for self-ruled Taiwan, which China claims as a wayward province.

The United States has expressed concern about what it calls unsafe intercepts of US aircraft by the Chinese air force and a lack of transparency in China's military spending, China being in the midst of an ambitious military modernisation programme.