New US-China dialogue set for June 21

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WASHINGTON, D.C.: The first meeting in a much-touted new diplomatic and defense dialogue between the United States and China will take place in Washington on June 21, the State Department announced on Thursday. North Korea’s nuclear weapons program is likely to top the agenda for next week’s talks, which follow Pentagon chief Jim Mattis’s assurances to Asian allies that the initiative will not compromise US opposition to China’s activities in the South China Sea. President Donald Trump—who frequently denounced China on the campaign trail—has turned to Beijing to help pressure Pyongyang, with Mattis arguably his most important statesman on the issue. Mattis and US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will host Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi and General Fang Fenghui, Chief of the People’s Liberation Army’s Joint Staff Department, along with other officials from both sides, the announcement said.

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