In this Wednesday, June 20, 2018, file photo, U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, center, steps away after speaking with the media at the Pentagon. U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, who has accused China of "intimidation and coercion" in the South China Sea, is visiting Beijing as the countries increasingly spar over U.S. arms sales to Taiwan and Beijing's expanding military presence overseas. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

Mattis to visit China as Taiwan, S. China Sea tensions rise

June 23, 2018 - 9:22 pm

BEIJING (AP) — U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, who has accused China of "intimidation and coercion" in the South China Sea, is visiting Beijing this week as the countries increasingly spar over U.S. arms sales to Taiwan and Beijing's expanding military presence overseas.

Mattis will be the first defense secretary in President Donald Trump's administration to visit China. His mission comes amid a looming trade war with Beijing over tariffs and reliance on China to help get North Korea deliver on denuclearization promises made at a summit in Singapore between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Beijing was seen as taking home a major win when Trump announced at the summit that the U.S. would suspend joint U.S.-South Korea war games that North Korea and China have long opposed.

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