Washington: The United States and China resume top-level talks on Friday after months of spiraling tension, looking to see if they can find a way forward on disputes from trade to military friction.
Friday´s delayed meeting in Washington comes weeks before US leader Donald Trump is expected to meet his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit in Argentina, with both sides hoping they can announce some progress.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis will spend Friday morning with two high-ranking Chinese policymakers, days after a congressional election in which Trump painted China as a bogeyman.
A planned trip by Mattis to Beijing last month was canceled amid rising military tensions between the Pacific powers. But on Friday China´s defense minister, General Wei Fenghe, will visit the Pentagon to a ceremonial honor cordon.
The defense chiefs will beforehand hold talks at the State Department jointly with Pompeo and senior Communist Party official Yang Jiechi, a longtime architect of Chinese foreign policy who formerly served as ambassador to Washington.
The talks will focus on security, but trade is at the heart of tensions. Trump has slapped $250 billion worth of tariffs on Chinese goods, accusing Beijing of nefarious trading practices, prompting retaliatory measures. While some of the Trump administration´s comments on China have prompted commentators to draw parallels to the Cold War, Terry Branstad, the US ambassador to Beijing, said that Washington was not seeking confrontation for its own sake.