Dempsey said he also discussed the confrontation between Beijing and Tokyo over uninhabited islands in the East China Sea controlled by Japan but claimed by China. He said he told the Chinese that while the U.S. doesn't take a position on the islands' sovereignty, it has defense treaty obligations to Japan that it would honor in the event of a conflict.
In addition to meeting with Fang, President Xi Jinping and other officials, Dempsey on Wednesday visited a Chinese air force academy, where he said he was asked about the purposes behind the U.S. military's renewed emphasis on the Asia-Pacific.
China believes the U.S. strategy of basing more ships in the region and strengthening relations with regional militaries is aimed at containing its economic, military and diplomatic rise. Dempsey said he emphasized that it was a natural rebalancing following the winding down of the U.S. involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan and in response to Asia's growing economic and political importance.
"This wasn't a strategy that was aimed at (China) in any way," Dempsey said.
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