WASHINGTON – US Defense Secretary James Mattis will receive at the Pentagon this Friday his Chinese counterpart, Wei Fenghe, with whom he is expected to resume high-level talks about security and diplomacy, official sources said.
The American will offer Wei a gala reception at the headquarters of the US Defense Department at 1:30 pm, an event that will lead to a bilateral meeting of the two countries’ delegations.
The meeting comes at a time of tension between the two world powers, as was obvious in October when Mattis suspended a state visit to Beijing.
In recent months the US and China have engaged in a trade war since Washington slapped tariffs on imports from the Asian nation worth $250 billion, and Beijing responded with $110 billion in import duties on goods and services from the US.
As for defense policy, the Pentagon cited China early this year as one of the main security threats in its new National Defense Strategy (NDS).
Throughout the year, the two countries have fallen out a number of times, chiefly over the growing presence of the Chinese army in the South China Sea, a region that has become the object of sovereignty disputes among several nations, including the Asian giant.
Further tension was sparked when the Pentagon canceled the invitation it had made to the Chinese armed forces to participate in the RimPac naval maneuvers in Hawaii.
In addition, the US government has accused China of using its economic muscle to put pressure on South Korea in order to deal a blow to Washington-Seoul relations.