Mattis meets Xi in Beijing amid tensions

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Beijing, June 27 (IANS) US Defence Secretary James Mattis met Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday here amid growing fears of a trade war between the two countries and an increase in military tension.

Mattis, who is the first Pentagon chief to visit China since 2014, met Xi as part of a three-day visit to the Chinese capital. He also held a discussion with Chinese Defence Minister Wei Fenghe earlier, CNN reported.

During the meeting with Mattis, Xi stressed on the importance of bilateral relations with the US. He stressed that the issues bringing the two countries together “far exceed” their differences, according to China’s Defence Ministry.

The Chinese leader said that both countries were increasingly interdependent and ties between them were of great importance to the world and added that both sides should maintain the “good momentum” of their military cooperation.

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Mattis also emphasized the importance the US gives to its ties with China and the objective of increasing and strengthening cooperation with Beijing on matters such as risk-reduction or increase of confidence-building measures, according to the ministry.

Before departing on his trip to Asia on Sunday, Mattis had said he hoped to establish a “transparent strategic dialogue” with his Chinese interlocutors.

“Going forward, we obviously look at the actions of China, but I am going there to do a lot of listening and identification of common ground and uncommon ground on the strategic level at this time,” he said.

–IANS

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