Chinese defense minister to visit Pentagon this week

Chinese defense minister to visit Pentagon this week

U.S. Secretary of Defense James N. Mattis meets with China's Minister of National Defence Gen. Wei Fenghe at the ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Meeting, Singapore, Oct. 18, 2018. (DOD photo by Lisa Ferdinando)

WASHINGTON — Defense Secretary James Mattis will meet his Chinese counterpart this week in Washington, one more step in his efforts to fortify an inconsistent military-to-military relationship between Beijing and Washington.

Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe will spend at least two days in Washington, Pentagon officials confirmed Monday.

The two men met in Beijing during Mattis’ trip to Asia in June. During his stop in Beijing, Mattis first suggested that Wei visit Washington and Wei accepted.

They were scheduled to meet again in October, before Mattis visited Singapore, but that meeting was scratched because of inflamed tensions between the two nations on trade and U.S.-China loggerheads in the South China Sea.

However, then China offered up a meeting in Singapore, where both men were attending the Association of Southeast Nations conference. The meeting took place, went well beyond the scheduled 60 minutes, and Mattis reaffirmed the invitation.

Last week, speaking at the U.S. Institute for Peace, Mattis said Wei had accepted his offer to visit and would be coming in the near future. Manning said Monday that the Pentagon is not disclosing details of the visit in deference to letting the Chinese make the announcements.

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