Published: Sat, November 10, 2018

United States and China in high-level military meeting TODAY

United States and China in high-level military meeting TODAY

Politburo member Yang bluntly told the United States to stop sending ships and aircraft near China-claimed territory in the South China Sea.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis says the USA has told China that that the American military will "fly, sail and operate wherever worldwide law allows".

The talks were due to be held in Beijing last month but were postponed after Washington announced new arms sales to Taiwan, and USA and Chinese vessels came close to colliding in the South China Sea.

The two sides should "properly manage differences and carefully prepare to ensure positive results in the Argentine meeting", politburo member Yang Jiechi told USA national security adviser John Bolton in Washington, China's Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Thursday.

Kissinger said he is pleased to meet Xi in China again at a critical moment when Sino-U.S. relations have entered a new stage. "The US is not trying to contain China but we want fairness and reciprocity".

A planned trip to Beijing by Mr Mattis last month was halted as military tensions between the USA and China escalated.

The officials were set to discuss issues ranging from the South China Sea to human rights and cooperation on issues involving countries like Afghanistan and Iran, US Ambassador to China Terry Branstad told reporters Thursday.

The talks included Pompeo, U.S. defense chief Jim Mattis, Chinese Politburo member Yang Jiechi and Defense Minister Wei Fenghe.

However, Yang and Chinese defense minister Wei Fenghe spoke of the need to improve cooperation, including between the USA and Chinese militaries, to ease the risk of conflict as the two powers jockey for pre-eminence in the Asia-Pacific.

Wei warned that "confrontation or conflict between the two militaries will spell disaster for all" and said that "cooperation is the only option for us".

"China is committed to working with the United States to achieve a non-confrontational, conflict-free, mutually respectful cooperation in which both sides win", it quoted Yang as saying.

Mattis was also upfront that US would continue its so-called freedom of navigation program. "Competition does not mean hostility".

China and the United States have slapped tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars of each other's goods, jolting global financial markets, and Trump has threatened to set tariffs on the remainder of China's $500 billion-plus exports to the United States if the trade dispute can not be resolved.

Pompeo, who has made religious freedom a priority at his State Department, said he had had a "good conversation" on the US' concerns about China's treatment of religious minorities amid reports that Beijing is in the midst of a large-scale effort to "re-educate" its Uighur Muslim population concentrated in Xinjiang province.

They were supposed to have been held in Beijing in October but were delayed amid rising tensions over trade, Taiwan and the South China Sea.

Speaking earlier, the Chinese government's top diplomat, State Councillor Wang Yi, said Xi and Trump reached an important consensus on the healthy and stable development of bilateral ties in a telephone call last week.Their meeting at the G20 summit would be of "great significance" in resolving bilateral problems, Wang said. While the Trump administration has generally been soft-spoken on human rights, at least with allies, Pompeo denounced China's "repression" of religious and minority groups including the Uighur community, citing a United Nations report that up to one million members of the mostly Muslim ethnic group have been rounded up in detention camps. But overall, the tone of the USA officials' public comments was milder than that of the Chinese.

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