Jim Mattis to meet Chinese counterpart amid US-China tensions

Vastavam web: US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis plans to meet on Thursday in Singapore with his Chinese counterpart just weeks after their talks planned for Beijing fell apart amid growing friction between the US and China. Shortly after Mattis arrived in Singapore on Wednesday after a visit to Vietnam, a senior Mattis aide told reporters that the meeting is set to happen on Thursday.

Mattis and Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe were in Singapore for a regional meeting of defense ministers. Mattis visited China in June, but since then a series of events have escalated tensions. Schriver said the US sees signs that the military-to-military relationship may be on the upswing.

“The fact that he’s meeting with Minister Wei is some evidence that the Chinese are interested in keeping things normal and stable, as are we,” Schriver said. “Our impression is that the (Chinese) military wants to keep things stable.” Schriver said the trigger for recent tensions between the Pentagon and the Chinese military was the Trump administration’s decision in September to sanction the Chinese military for buying Russian fighter planes and missiles. That action was taken under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act passed by Congress in 2017. “That may turn out to be a relatively short bump in the road,” Schriver said, adding that Mattis is expected to convey to Wei US interest in normal relations with the Chinese military.