US, China should ensure G20 talks go well, senior diplomat says

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo shakes hands with Yang Jiechi, a member of the Political Bureau of the Chinese Communist Party before a meeting in Beijing China on Oct. 8 2018

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo shakes hands with Yang Jiechi, a member of the Political Bureau of the Chinese Communist Party before a meeting in Beijing China on Oct. 8 2018

"We made clear that the United States will continue to fly, sail and operate wherever global law allows", Mattis said. Malaysia and Brunei also have overlapping claims in the waters, where the U.S., Chinese, Japanese and some Southeast Asian navies also routinely operate.

The two sides should "properly manage differences and carefully prepare to ensure positive results in the Argentine meeting", politburo member Yang Jiechi told US national security adviser John Bolton in Washington, China's Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Thursday. While the Trump administration has generally been soft-spoken on human rights, at least with allies, Pompeo denounced China's "repression" of religious and minority groups including the Uighur community, citing a United Nations report that up to one million members of the mostly Muslim ethnic group have been rounded up in detention camps.

The talks included Pompeo, U.S. defense chief Jim Mattis, Chinese Politburo member Yang Jiechi and Defense Minister Wei Fenghe. Activists say there is evidence of torture, widespread surveillance, and signs that those being held are being forced to renounce their faith. Yang insisted that Chinese people have freedom of religion, and that "foreign countries have no right to interfere".

-China Diplomatic and Security Dialogue.

Pompeo also reiterated US criticism of China's "repression of religious groups", citing treatment of Buddhists in Tibet and minority Uighur Muslims in the Xinjiang region that has drawn condemnation from human rights groups. In turn, Beijing said that it had the sovereign right to send troops to any part of its territory.

Defense Minister Wei reiterated during the press conference that China would take any necessary measures to ensure the eventual unification of Taiwan is not threatened, a statement in response to the sailing of a USA warship through the Taiwan Strait for the second time in several months.

Chinese President Xi Jinping met with former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in Beijing Thursday. He signed the Taiwan Travel Act earlier this year, which encourages visits "at all levels" between USA and Taiwanese officials. Diplomatic sources indicate arrangements are being made for Pence to meet with Morris Chang, a retired tech guru who founded Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), on the sidelines of the APEC summit.

"The United States will meet with whomever the United States wants to meet with", the official said when asked whether China was warning against such a meeting.

China bluntly told the United States to stop sending ships and military aircraft close to islands claimed by Beijing in the South China Sea, during talks that set the stage for a meeting between President Donald Trump and President Xi Jinping later this month.

The disputed sea is a major Asian trade route, where Beijing has landfilled areas for military infrastructure.

Pompeo and Mattis also told China to stop militarizing the islands in the South China Sea.

But just as he was speaking, a top advisor to Trump, Peter Navarro, vowed to press China hard on trade.

He added that the Pentagon has "sought ways to lessen tension, maintain open lines of communications between our militaries and reduce the risk of miscalculation".

Mattis said all military and civilian vessels and aircraft should "operate in a safe and professional manner" in the contested global waters.

In their talks Friday, the United States insisted it was not pursuing a new "Cold War" with China, though the two powers could only paper over their deepening differences.