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US, China to hold 1st diplomatic and security dialogue in Washington

China and the United States will hold their first diplomatic and security dialogue on Wednesday in Washington D.C., a Foreign Ministry spokesperson announced on Friday.

Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi will co-chair the dialogue with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Defense James Mattis, said spokesperson Lu Kang at a daily press briefing.

Fang Fenghui, a member of China's Central Military Commission (CMC) and chief of the CMC Joint Staff Department, will also participate in the dialogue.

The diplomatic and security dialogue is one of four high-level mechanisms launched by President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping during a summit in Florida in April.

The other three are dialogues on economics; law enforcement and cyber security; and on social, cultural and people-to-people exchange.

The U.S. State Department said the aim was "to expand areas of cooperation while narrowing differences on key diplomatic and security issues."

The dialogue comes amid rising tensions in ties over competing claims in the South China Sea and a large trade imbalance.

Despite these tensions, U.S.-China ties have warmed since the April summit.

North Korea issue will also top the agenda then, according to Tillerson who made clear that Washington wanted more help from China in pressing Pyongyang to abandon its weapons programs.

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