Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday met visiting Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford at the Great Hall of the People here to ease strained bilateral and regional relations after several days of escalated tensions and threats between Washington and Pyongyang.
Xi received General Dunford at the presidential palace in Beijing and said the military official’s visit reflected a step forward in military ties between the two countries, Xinhua news agency reported.
“You are the first senior military official to visit China since US President Donald Trump took office,” Xi told Dunford.
The Chinese President said that although the visit was brief, it was quite comprehensive, indicating that the military-to-military relations between China and the US made a substantial step forward.
Dunford also met Fan Changlong, Vice Chairman of the Central Military Commission, who urged the US to rule out military intervention in North Korea.
Dialogue is the only solution to the nuclear crisis in the Korean peninsula, and not military action, said Fan, according to a statement by the Chinese Defence Ministry.
Dunford’s visit came a week after tensions between North Korea and the US reached a peak, with both sides exchanging military threats, the report said.
Tensions between the countries, however, had eased in the last few days, especially after Pyongyang said it had delayed a plan to attack the US island of Guam in the Pacific.
China had repeatedly asked the US to suspend its joint military maneuvers with South Korea in exchange for North Korea halting its nuclear and ballistic missile tests, a proposal Dunford said was a non-negotiable point.
“The exercises are not currently on the table as part of the negotiation at any level,” Dunford told reporters after the meetings, adding that “the exercises are very important to maintaining the ability of the alliance to defend itself”.