By Rebecca Shabad - 04/07/14 07:47 AM EDT
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel will tour a Chinese aircraft carrier on Monday as the first foreign visitor aboard the ship, according to The Associated Press.
On Sunday, Hagel told reporters China must respect its neighbors in the region, the AP noted. Last year, China declared its own Air Defense Zone, which covered a set of islands its government and Japan have both claimed.
In recent months, Hagel has also pressed the Chinese government to be more transparent about its expanding military.
The ship is part of an expanded Chinese navy fleet that includes new submarines and surface ships. Hagel will visit the Liaoning, which was built during the Cold War and purchased from Ukraine.
The stop is part of Hagel's 10-day trip to Asia this week, and his first trip to China as Defense secretary. Hagel will meet with senior Chinese leaders and then will travel to Mongolia before returning to the United States.