US China: Easing tensions, US, China to hold top-level security talks

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WASHINGTON: The United States and China will hold top-level security talks on Friday, the State Department announced, in a sign of easing tensions after months of escalation over trade and regional disputes.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis will host senior Chinese officials in Washington for the second US-China Diplomatic and Security Dialogue, following a meeting in June 2017.

The announcement of talks with senior Communist Party foreign affairs official Yang Jiechi and General Wei Fenghe came on the eve of US congressional elections, in which President Donald Trump has cast China as a villain set on bringing him down.

In early October, a US defense official said that a planned visit by Mattis to China had been canceled because Beijing declined to make Wei available.

But addressing a Middle East security conference last week, Mattis said that Wei would shortly travel to Washington, adding that “strategic competition does not imply hostility.”

Washington and Beijing have been locked in a high-stakes standoff over Trump’s move to end what he says have been years of unfair trade practices by China.

Trump imposed new tariffs on roughly half of Chinese imports this summer while Beijing fired back with tariffs on most US products.

Trump turned the feud into a full-press offensive — boosting military support for rival Taiwan, stepping up denunciations of Beijing’s human rights record and curtailing its access to US nuclear technology.

In a speech that some observers said recalled the Cold War, Vice President Mike Pence vowed to challenge China on multiple fronts and accused Beijing of interfering in US elections by buying advertisements extolling the trade relationship.





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