Mattis: China’s defense chief to visit Washington next week

MANAMA, Bahrain (AP) — U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is announcing that China’s defense chief will travel to Washington next week for a meeting that has been delayed by tensions between the two nations.

Mattis tells a security conference that he’ll meet with Defense Minister Wei Fenghe. Relations in the past year have been rocked by disputes over China’s militarization of the South China Sea and trade tariffs pushed by the Trump administration.

A Chinese destroyer also came aggressively close to a U.S. Navy ship earlier this month.

Mattis said strategic competition doesn’t imply hostility, and he is committed to cooperating with countries like China and Russia. He spoke at the Manama Dialogue in Bahrain.

Mattis met with Wei during a recent conference in Singapore, and U.S. officials said they sense military relations may be stabilizing.

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