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.

Must Read

US, Russia close on Syria deal, but Obama says not there yet

Sep 4, 2016

President Barack Obama says the United States and Russia are working "around the clock" to try to...

China promises cooperation on steel at global summit

Sep 5, 2016

China promises cooperation on steel at global summit amid pressure for trade curbs

China imports grow in August for 1st time in 2 years

Sep 8, 2016

China trade showed unexpected strength in August in a positive sign for global economic growth

Asian stocks rise after Wall Street gains

Dec 21, 2016

Asian stocks are higher after U.S. stocks rose to record levels despite attacks in Germany and...

China resumes ties with Sao Tome in triumph over Taiwan

Dec 26, 2016

China and Sao Tome and Principe have officially resumed diplomatic relations after the African...