Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Monday, July 16th, 2018

US Defense Chief to Visit China amid S. China Sea Tensions

US Defense Chief to Visit China amid  S. China Sea Tensions

BEIJING — U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, who has accused China of “intimidation and coercion” in the South China Sea, visits Beijing this week as the countries increasingly spar over U.S. arms sales to Taiwan and Beijing’s expanding military presence overseas.
Mattis will be the first defense secretary in President Donald Trump’s administration to visit China. His trip highlights the need for the U.S. and its chief rival in East Asia to engage each other despite increasingly stark differences and mutual suspicion.
Mattis’ mission comes at a difficult time as the Trump administration is set to start taxing $34 billion in Chinese goods in two weeks while Beijing has vowed to retaliate with its own tariffs on U.S. products. The U.S. appears likely to rely on China for help getting North Korea to deliver on denuclearization promises made at this month’s summit between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
The South China Sea will likely be near the top of the agenda in discussions between Mattis and Chinese officials, with the U.S. issuing threats against Beijing for its continued militarization of the waters. “There are consequences that will continue to come home to roost, so to speak, with China if they don’t find a way to work more collaboratively with all of the nations who have interests,” Mattis said earlier this month. He said China’s weapons were placed in the region for “intimidation and coercion.” The Pentagon last month withdrew its invitation for China to participate in a large-scale multinational naval exercise in what it called “an initial response” to the militarization of the South China Sea. (AP)