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By sending general to China, US shows off military ties

Dunford's East Asia trip bolsters efforts to counter North Korea threat

BEIJING/WASHINGTON -- The top U.S. uniformed officer's visit to China has helped to highlight military cooperation between the two countries, sending a subtle message to Pyongyang that Beijing's support may be not available in the event of American military action.

Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, concluded Friday a hurried tour of three Asian countries that also included Japan and South Korea. While in China on Wednesday, he met with Song Puxuan, a People's Liberation Army commander with jurisdiction over the border region with North Korea. They met near that border in the northeastern Chinese province of Liaoning, which on any other occasion would be a surprisingly out-of-the-way stop.

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