Mattis visits China amid tensions
US Defense Secretary James Mattis arrived in Beijing on his first ever visit to China yesterday, aiming to find room for military cooperation as security tensions between the two superpowers edge higher.
With Washington and Beijing locked in an escalating trade war, and the Pentagon alarmed over China's placement of weapons on disputed islands in the South China Sea, Mattis said he would seek areas where the two sides share interests, including persuading North Korea to give up its nuclear arsenal.
Mattis is scheduled to meet his Chinese counterpart Wei Fenghe, for the first time as well as other top officials, to "take measure" of their views.
In a statement ahead of the visit, a Chinese defence ministry spokesman said they should "work together to make the bilateral military relationship an important stabilising factor in the relationship between the two countries."
Meanwhile, North and South Korea yesterday held talks on connecting the railways that run across their border, a physical link that would transform the relationship between the two sides of the divided peninsula. The discussions, the first on the issue for 10 years, took place in the truce village of Panmunjom.