Mattis to Visit China as Taiwan, S. China Sea Tensions Rise 
Date: June 24, 2018
By Christopher Bodeen, The Associated Press

BEIJING — U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, who has accused China of

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, right, meets with Indonesia’s Defense Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu before their meeting with the Southeast Asian defense ministers at the 17th International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) Shangri-la Dialogue, an annual defense and security forum in Asia, in Singapore, on Friday, June 1. (AP Photo/Yong Teck Lim)

“intimidation and coercion” in the South China Sea, is visiting Beijing this week as the countries increasingly spar over U.S. arms sales to Taiwan and Beijing’s expanding military presence overseas.

The Defense Secretary’s 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 in getting North Korea to deliver on denuclearization promises made at a summit in Singapore between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.    [FULL  STORY]

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