The Latest: Mattis, Chinese counterpart discuss disputed sea

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, left, meets Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe in Singapore Thursday, Oct. 18, 2018. After a rocky few months, Pentagon officials say they sense that relations with the Chinese military may be stabilizing. (AP Photo/Robert Burns)
U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, left, meets Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe in Singapore Thursday, Oct. 18, 2018. After a rocky few months, Pentagon officials say they sense that relations with the Chinese military may be stabilizing. (AP Photo/Robert Burns)

SINGAPORE — The Latest on a meeting between U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and his Chinese counterpart (all times local):

5:50 p.m.

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has met on the sidelines of an Asian security conference in Singapore with his Chinese counterpart, Gen. Wei Fenghe.

The face-to-face talks between the defense chiefs on Thursday lasted 90 minutes but produced no new agreements. But U.S. officials say they sense relations with the Chinese military may be stabilizing after a rocky few months.

The Pentagon's top official for Asia-Pacific affairs, Randall Schriver, says Mattis described the talks as "straightforward and candid." Schriver says the discussions covered numerous issues but focused on the disputed South China Sea, where Chinese military activity is viewed by Washington as irresponsible and Beijing complains of an inappropriate U.S. military presence. Mattis asserted that the U.S. view is widely shared in the region and beyond.

China did not immediately comment to U.S. media outlets after the meeting.

___

12:35 p.m.

Pentagon officials say they sense that relations with the Chinese military may be stabilizing after a few rocky months.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis was meeting Thursday with his Chinese counterpart, Wei Fenghe, on the sidelines of an Asian defense ministers conference.

Just weeks ago, Mattis had planned to travel to Beijing for talks with Wei, but that fell through when the Chinese made it known that Wei would be unavailable -- one of several signs that tension in the overall U.S.-China relationship was spilling over into the military arena.

Wei and Mattis were in Singapore this week for an Association of Southeast Asian Nations conference.

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