"The Asia Pacific is our common homeland. Nations big or small, strong or weak, should make ... efforts for promoting regional peace and stability," the Chinese defense chief said during a joint press conference with U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel at the Pentagon.
His sit-down with Hagel will cap off the Chinese defense chief's four-day visit to the United States, including stops at Pacific Command in Hawaii and Northern Command headquarters in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Chang is only the second defense minister to visit the Pentagon in person in over a decade.
He replaced former defense chief Gen. Liang Guanglie, the last Chinese defense leader to visit the U.S., when Chinese President Xi Jinping took power in March.
After the meeting, Chang emphasized Beijing's desire to forge stronger military ties with the United States despite recent flare-ups between China and regional powers in the Pacific.
"China is ready to work with the U.S. ... to raise our military-to-military relationship to a new heights," Chang said.
However, the Chinese defense leader warned his willingness to work with American and its allies will be tempered by the country's mandate to protect its military and economic position in the Pacific.
"Any action that leads to trouble or provocation, any ... unwanted action out of self-interest [that] further complicates or magnifies the situation would be highly irresponsible and will not lead to a favorable result," Chang said.
In response, Hagel said the goal of U.S. military policy in the Pacific is to "build trust between our militaries through cooperation."
"The United States welcomes and supports the rise of a prosperous and responsible China that help solve regional and global problems," Hagel said.
Those goals will be put to the test later this month, when Hagel, Chang and other top military leaders in the Asia-Pacific region are set to meet at the annual The Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit.
China's global economic prowess and its military's recent aggressive actions in the region dominated the regional security summit held in Singapore last year.
Tensions over China's aggressiveness in the Pacific, particularly in areas like the South China Sea reached a boiling point last April.
At the time, Beijing sent three warships to a section of the hotly-contested waterway, off the northwest coast of the Philippines, to support a Chinese fishing ship being detained by the Philippine navy.
Claiming territorial sovereignty over the coastal waters where the Chinese fishing vessel was detained, Manila has deployed an additional warship to the area.
The dispute was eventually resolved through diplomatic channels, but not before U.S. warships were put on alert in case hostilities broke out between Philippine and Chinese forces.
The South China Sea incident, along with other flare-ups in areas like the Spratly Islands, highlight the continual territorial disputes that have plagued U.S.-Sino relations in recent years.