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US, China to resume talks to resolve trade disputes

US, China to resume talks to resolve trade disputes

China and the United States have put tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars of each other's goods and U.S. President Donald Trump has threatened to set tariffs on the remainder of China's US$500 billion-plus exports to the United States if the trade dispute can not be resolved.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary James Mattis spoke to the press alongside their Chinese counterparts after the four officials held a security and diplomatic dialogue meant to prepare their leaders for a meeting at the Group of 20 summit in Argentina later this month. The U.S. also seeks action from China on the export of a synthetic form of opioids called fentanyl that is a scourge of drug addiction in America.

Terry Branstad told reporters at the State Department on Thursday that the U.S. would seek progress on priority issues, including North Korea, and that there would also be discussions on strategic security and how "to avoid mistakes or accidents that can happen in the military arena".

In today's meeting Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo and Defence Secretary Jim Mattis and two high-ranking Chinese policymakers are also likely to discuss steps to reduce military friction between the two countries.

Pompeo said the U.S. side had been "forthright in addressing significant differences between our nations" and laid out the Trump administration's larger goal.

"The United States is not pursuing a Cold War or containment policy with China", Pompeo told a joint news conference. "The US is not trying to contain China but we want fairness and reciprocity".

"We have continued concerns about China's activities and militarization in the South China Sea", Pompeo said following the talks. "High-level dialogue like this helps diminish the space between us".

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis asserted US rights to freedom of navigation but also said the two sides should work together on areas of common interest.

Mattis repeated the position that "the United States will continue to fly, sail and operate wherever worldwide law allows". The U.S. Navy says a Chinese destroyer came close to the USS Decatur in late September in an "unsafe and unprofessional maneuver" near a disputed reef in the South China Sea, where Beijing has sweeping but disputed sovereignty claims. Mr Pompeo condemned China for building military installations on artificial islands in the South China Sea.

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Friday's Washington talks saw the Chinese and U.S. parties locked in discussions over trade and China's clampdown on its Muslim minority, as well as security concerns.

"We believe that no country should use any excuse to engage in militarization in the region".

He branded the critics "unregistered foreign agents" who wanted to pressure Mr Trump into a deal.

Despite the officials' frank airing of their differences, both sides are stressing the need to lower tensions that have flared amid a trade dispute between the world's two largest economies.

China wants to resolve problems with the United States through talks but it must respect China's choice of development path and interests, President Xi Jinping said on Thursday ahead of a meeting with the USA leader in Argentina.

Yang deflected the issue, saying that "matters related to Xinjiang are China's internal affairs". Yang insisted that Chinese people have freedom of religion, and that "foreign countries have no right to interfere". "We pressed China to live up to its past commitments in this area".

Again Yang and Wei pushed back, speaking of Taiwan as an "integral" and "inseparable" part of China.

Yang said that China, North Korea's main lifeline, would enforce United Nations sanctions but voiced hope that Washington and Pyongyang "will meet each other halfway" and "accommodate each other's legitimate concerns".