China, US working on defense meeting amid spike in tensions

China says it is working with the Pentagon on arranging a visit to the U.S. by Defense Minister Wei Fenghe (WAY FUNG’-huh) that has been sidelined by a spike in tensions.

Defense Ministry spokesman Wu Qian said Thursday the sides were communicating closely on a visit and that Beijing hopes the U.S. will work with it to strengthen cooperation and “control risks.”

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis met Thursday with Wei on the sidelines of an Asian security conference in Singapore.

While that meeting produced no new agreements, U.S. officials said they sense military relations may be stabilizing after a rocky few months, highlighted by a near-collision between Chinese and American destroyers in the South China Sea.

China has also been angered by closer U.S. relations with Taiwan.

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