Chinese state media say top U.S. military officer Adm. Mike Mullen will visit China next month.
The July 9-13 visit of the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff follows recent tensions in the South China Sea between China and several of its neighbors.
Xinhua News Agency quoted Defense Ministry spokesman Yang Yujun as saying Mullen's visit is in return for Chinese Gen. Chen Bingde's trip to the United States in May. Yang spoke Wednesday at a news briefing where foreign media were not invited.
Yang says Mullen's schedule is not set yet.
Xinhua reported that Yang also congratulated Leon Panetta, who is replacing Robert Gates as U.S. defense secretary.