World Bulletin / News Desk
Chinese President Xi Jinping told US Defense Secretary James Mattis Wednesday the two countries must sustain the "good momentum" of their military relationship, amid US worries about China's projection of power across the Indo-Pacific.
"Ï'm here to keep our relationship on the right trajectory, keep it going in the right direction and to share ideas with your military leadership, as well as look at the way ahead," the Pentagon chief told Xi.
There were no references to rising bilateral tensions, in both military and economic relations, in public remarks ahead of their meeting in the Great Hall of the People.
But Mattis blasted China earlier this month over the militarisation of built-up islets it claims in the South China Sea, and President Donald Trump has sparked a trade war with the country.
In consequence, the deterioration of relations was barely below the surface of Xi's and Mattis's diplomatic remarks.
"The Chinese-US relationship is one of the most important bilateral relationships in the world," Xi said.
"Över the recent years this military-to-military relationship has had good momentum... I would like to hope this momentum of the military-to-military relationship would continue."
The two met after Mattis spent a day in meetings with other top Chinese officials, including Defence Minister Wei Fenghe and Politburo member and former ambassador to the United States Yang Jiechi.
Mattis, on his first visit to China, came in search of a "very open and honest dialogue" about the long-term strategic goals of both countries.
Ahead of the visit he acknowledged the tensions but said he believed he could find areas where the two militaries could cooperate, in hopes of building better communications and reducing the chances of conflict.
Güncelleme Tarihi: 27 Haziran 2018, 16:22