Beijing, Oct 1: China has canceled annual security meeting with United States scheduled in mid of this month.
The meeting with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis in Beijing was canceled as a senior Chinese military officer would not be available to meet Mattis, a New York Times report said on Sunday, quoting a US official. China has conveyed the decision to Trump administration on Friday.
The latest development is in another sign of bickering Sino-US relationship. Moreover, it also shows how quickly the tensions over an escalating trade war have infected other parts of the relationship, particularly security concerns.
Whether the accumulation of last week’s episodes, or one in particular, provoked the decision to scuttle the dialogue is not clear, the American official said. Last year’s security and diplomatic dialogue, the chief of the People’s Liberation Army, Gen Fang Fenghui, attended the sessions held in Washington.
China has taken 'strongly' sanctions on a Chinese state military company for buying weapons from Russia, and announced sales of 330 million dollars in military equipment to Taiwan, the self-governing island democracy that Beijing claims as its own.
China was also irritated by a Pentagon announcement last Wednesday that B-52 bombers had flown over the East China Sea and the South China Sea as part of its “continuous bomber presence in the region.” China claims almost all of the South China Sea, and strongly protests American military patrols there.
The sanctions on the Chinese military’s Equipment Development Department, for purchases of fighter jets and surface-to-air missiles from Russia, seemed to particularly sting, the official said. The Foreign Ministry signaled last week that the arms sale to Taiwan threatened to cause “severe damage” to relations with the US, including “bilateral cooperation in major fields.”Moreover, Mr Trump last week accused Beijing of interfering in the approaching midterm elections by buying major advertising space in an Iowa newspaper.
Last Tuesday, China refused a request by an American warship to make a port visit to Hong Kong in October. China began a weeklong holiday on Sunday. Government officials were not available for comment on the cancellation of the meeting. (UNI)