China and the US will hold their first diplomatic and security dialogue next week in Washington amid rising tensions in ties over the South China Sea. Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi will co-chair the dialogue with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Defense James Mattis, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang told a daily press briefing today. Fang Fenghui, a member of China’s Central Military Commission (CMC) and chief of the CMC Joint Staff Department, will also participate in the dialogue. The two sides will exchange views on China-US relations and other issues of common concern, Lu said. The diplomatic and security dialogue is one of four high-level mechanisms established during the Mar-a-Lago meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Donald Trump in Florida in April.
The other three are dialogues are on economics, law enforcement and cyber security, and on social, cultural and people-to-people exchange. The dialogue comes amid rising tensions in ties over competing claims in the South China Sea. The US last month sent a navy warship near an artificial island in the disputed South China Sea as part of the first “freedom of navigation” operation under President Donald Trump, prompting the Chinese government to say that the “provocative action” violated its sovereignty.
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The guided-missile destroyer, USS Dewey, conducted a patrol within 20 kilometres of Mischeef Reef, part of the Spratly Islands over which several countries, including China, have competing claims.