STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

US, Chinese defense chiefs hold 'straightforward' talks amid tensions

Top US and Chinese defense officials met in Singapore Thursday for a head-to-head meeting which nearly didn'...

Posted: Oct 19, 2018 1:05 PM
Updated: Oct 19, 2018 1:05 PM

Top US and Chinese defense officials met in Singapore Thursday for a head-to-head meeting which nearly didn't take place amid growing tensions between the world's two most powerful countries.

US Secretary of Defense James Mattis and Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe spoke for an hour-and-a-half behind closed doors, according to Randall Schriver, the US assistant secretary of defense for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs.

Asia

China

Continents and regions

East Asia

North America

The Americas

United States

James Mattis

Oceans and Seas (by name)

Physical locations

Political Figures - US

South China Sea

International law

International relations

International relations and national security

Law and legal system

Defense departments

Government and public administration

Government bodies and offices

Government departments and authorities

National security

Schriver said both men spent "significant time" discussing the situation in the South China Sea, a flashpoint between the two countries.

"The (US) secretary making very clear we will continue to operate where international law allows," Schriver told reporters.

The meeting comes amid growing economic, military and political tensions between Washington and Beijing, from the escalating trade war to allegations of Chinese political interference by US President Donald Trump.

The meeting was nearly called off once earlier in October, but was rescheduled at China's request on October 17, and took place Thursday on the sidelines of the ASEAN forum in Singapore.

"Neither side really wants a full-blown strategic competition, disengaging, decoupling from each other," Bonnie Glaser, director of the CSIS China Power Project in Washington, told CNN.

"(The Chinese) like the idea of having regular dialogues. It is an important way for (Chinese President) Xi Jinping to signal to his domestic population that he has a handle of the US-China relationship, that it's not spiraling out of control."

Tensions in the South China Sea

A long-running point of contention between the two countries is China's ongoing militarization of artificial islands in the South China Sea, one of the world's most important sea lanes.

Most countries view the Chinese government's vast territorial claims in the sea as in direct violation of international law, but this has not stopped Beijing from building up and weaponizing islets and reefs.

To assert the international right to freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, Washington conducts regular naval operations in close proximity to Chinese-held territory in the region.

Under the Trump administration the dispute has become increasingly fraught as the Pentagon has stepped up the number and intensity of freedom of navigation operations, which China regards as provocations.

Mattis and Wei's meeting comes just days after a pair of B-52H Stratofortress bomber planes took part in what the US Air Force called called "a routine training mission in the vicinity of the South China Sea."

When asked about the flights Thursday, China's Foreign Ministry said it was working to confirm the details but "firmly opposed to any country's behavior that jeopardizes the sovereignty and safe interests of the coastal countries and disturbs the regional peace and stability with the excuse of freedom of navigation and overflight."

"We always respect and safeguard every country's freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea in accordance with international laws," spokesman Lu Kang said.

Last month, Washington accused a Chinese destroyer of conducting "a series of increasingly aggressive maneuvers accompanied by warnings" while the USS Decatur was sailing on a freedom of navigation mission, forcing the US ship to quickly maneuver to prevent a collision.

Mattis and Wei did not discuss the Decatur incident, Schriver said.

West Lafayette
Clear
77° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 79°
Kokomo
Clear
71° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 71°
Rensselaer
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 68°
Fowler
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 68°
Williamsport
Clear
71° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 71°
Crawfordsville
Clear
69° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 69°
Frankfort
Clear
71° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 71°
Delphi
Scattered Clouds
71° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 71°
Monticello
Scattered Clouds
71° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 71°
Logansport
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 73°
Turning Warmer & More Humid, Then Big Cool-Down
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 76522

Reported Deaths: 3086
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion16194731
Lake7742281
Elkhart495586
Allen4040163
St. Joseph361083
Hamilton2887104
Vanderburgh205313
Hendricks1943108
Cass18069
Johnson1794119
Porter136239
Clark130750
Tippecanoe124511
Madison103066
LaPorte93530
Howard92065
Kosciusko87212
Floyd82249
Bartholomew82147
Marshall79423
Monroe76732
Delaware76052
Vigo71411
Dubois71312
Boone69746
Noble69029
Hancock68839
Jackson5975
Warrick58830
Shelby56828
LaGrange56610
Grant53130
Dearborn51628
Morgan48934
Clinton4504
Henry41820
Wayne38810
White37711
Montgomery36021
Lawrence35727
Harrison35224
Decatur34232
Putnam3218
Daviess27920
Miami2772
Scott27310
Jasper2572
Greene25434
Franklin24715
DeKalb2384
Gibson2334
Jennings22812
Steuben2153
Ripley2138
Carroll2003
Fayette1957
Perry18713
Posey1800
Starke1807
Orange17824
Wells1782
Fulton1732
Wabash1715
Jefferson1662
Knox1640
Whitley1566
Tipton14912
Washington1441
Sullivan1411
Spencer1393
Clay1315
Huntington1273
Randolph1274
Newton12110
Adams1172
Owen1051
Jay920
Rush894
Pulaski821
Fountain762
Brown752
Blackford662
Ohio656
Benton640
Pike620
Vermillion590
Parke551
Switzerland530
Martin500
Crawford450
Union410
Warren241
Unassigned0208

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events