U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis receives a bouquet upon arrival at an airport in Beijing, China, June 26, 2018.
U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis receives a bouquet upon arrival at an airport in Beijing, China, June 26, 2018.

U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis is in Beijing for talks with his Chinese counterpart amid rising diplomatic, military and economic tensions between the two superpowers.

Mattis told Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe Wednesday the military relationship between Washington and Beijing was crucial to the broader relationship between the two nations, and that he looked forward to an "open and honest dialogue" with Wei.

Mattis's visit is overshadowed by Beijing's anger over President Donald Trump's decision to impose huge tariffs on Chinese products, prompting China to respond with its own penalties on U.S. goods, as well as Washington's ongoing unease over Beijing's increasing military buildup in the South China Sea. 

Mattis withdrew an invitation to China to participate in an upcoming multinational Pacific naval exercise.