Hagel to take rare tour of Chinese carrier


Defense Secretary Chuck HagelCharles (Chuck) Timothy HagelHillicon Valley: Democrats request counterintelligence briefing | New pressure for election funding | Republicans urge retaliation against Chinese hackers National security leaders, advocacy groups urge Congress to send election funds to states The Hill's Campaign Report: Democratic Unity Taskforce unveils party platform recommendations MORE will tour a Chinese aircraft carrier on Monday as the first foreign visitor aboard the ship, according to The Associated Press.


Hagel requested the visit, which comes as he's trying to settle ongoing tensions between China and Japan over territory in the East China Sea.

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.