Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday pledged to "properly handle" disagreements with the U.S. and said Beijing welcomes U.S. President Donald Trump to visit China by year end, as he met chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.
"President Trump and I both highly value China-U.S. relations and are willing to push forward the development of bilateral ties. Though difficulties do exist, rainbows come after storms. I hope the two sides can treat each other with honesty and goodwill, maintain close communication and properly handle disagreements," Xi said, according to the Chinese Ministry of Defense.
Xi asked Dunford to convey his greetings to President Trump, and said China is looking forward to Trump visiting China.
The Chinese president stressed that bilateral military relations are an important part of China-U.S. ties and crucial for the stability of broader bilateral relations.
"In recent years, the two militaries have made constant progress in strengthening communication at all levels, promoting the construction of a military mutual trust mechanism and deepening practical cooperation. The two sides also signed a framework agreement on a China-U.S. military dialogue mechanism this time," said the president, adding that all these efforts will help strengthen bilateral ties.
Dunford thanked the Chinese leader for meeting him and said Trump is also looking forward to visiting China.
Describing bilateral military relations as "mature", Dunford said the U.S. military is committed to conducting honest and professional dialogue with the Chinese side, controlling risks and expanding mutual trust.
Earlier in the day, Fan Changlong, vice chairman of China's Central Military Commission, also met Dunford and told him military measures must not become an option on the Korean Peninsula and dialogue is the only effective way to solve the issue.
This is Dunford's first visit to China as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and he is the highest-ranking U.S. military official to visit China since Trump took office.
Before coming to Beijing, Dunford visited South Korea and discussed the tensions on the Korean Peninsula with President Moon Jae-in.
Dunford will also visit Japan in the coming days.