Mattis seeks less contentious visit with Chinese

June 24, 2018 - 9:05 pm

EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska (AP) — Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is laying out plans for a less contentious, more open dialogue with Chinese leaders as he travels to Asia.

Less than a month ago Mattis slammed Beijing at an international conference for its militarization of islands in the South China Sea.

Speaking to reporters Sunday en route to a stop in Alaska, Mattis avoided any of the sharp criticism of China that he had voiced recently. Instead, he insisted that he is going into the talks with Chinese leaders without any preconceived notions, and wants to focus on larger, more strategic security issues.

Officials say a key topic of discussions later this week will be the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula and the role China can play, considering its longstanding friendship with North Korea.

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