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Ties with China not worsening: U.S. defense secretary

Central News Agency

2018/10/03 16:15:52

Washington, Oct. 2 (CNA) There has been some tension in relations between the United States and China, but bilateral ties have not worsened, U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Monday during a visit to France.

Talking about the recent rift in U.S.-China relations, including Beijing calling off bilateral military talks scheduled for later this month, Mattis told reporters accompanying him on the trip that there is tension in relations, but the U.S. does not see it getting worse, according to a transcript of a video recording with the media released Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Defense.

"We're just going to have to learn how to manage this relationship. By 'we' I mean 'we' -- China and us -- plus other nations who are affected," Mattis said.

Asked how the U.S. will react if the Taiwan issue is involved, Mattis reiterated that U.S. policy on Taiwan and its one China policy have not changed.

"Our policy on Taiwan has not changed," Mattis said, adding that the one China also has not changed.

He added that the U.S. will resolve its relationship with China.

However, Mattis did not talk to the press about whether China is more or less open at present to military talks, saying only that he will talk to his Chinese counterpart directly when the time is right.

"The secretary of state will lead this effort and we'll sort it out," he added.

Asked whether there is truly a power struggle between the U.S. and China, Mattis said the two countries are both Pacific Ocean nations and face various situations, such as diplomatic, economic and security issues, that the two have to find ways to work out.

"And we will," he stressed.

China has canceled a security meeting with the U.S. secretary of defense that had been planned for mid-October, according to a Reuters report Sunday that cited a senior U.S. official.

However, the report was contradicted Tuesday by Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying through the ministry's official website.

According to Hua, the upcoming China-U.S. Diplomatic and Security Dialogue was not canceled by China, but was in fact postponed, and at Washington's request.

The conflicting announcements come amid the growing rift between the U.S. and China over trade, the South China Sea and Taiwan.

Washington announced Sept. 24 that a planned US$330 million arms sale to Taiwan covers standard spare parts and the repair and replacement of spare parts in support of Taiwan's F-16, C-130, F-5, Indigenous Defense Fighter and other aircraft systems.

(By Chiang Chin-yeh and Evelyn Kao)

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