They are expected to discuss several recent naval confrontations between the two countries in the South China Sea .North Korea 's recent nuclear and missile tests - and how to react to them - will also be on the agenda. Military relations between China and the US have been strained since last year because of the US sale of arms to Taiwan .
Michele Flournoy, the US under secretary of defence for policy, is leading the US delegation for the talks, set up in 1997. She will meet Lieutenant General Ma Xiaotian from the People's Liberation Army, China 's armed forces. One of the top concerns for the US team is the confrontations between ships from the two countries in the South China Sea. Already this year, there have been a handful of incidents off China 's southern coast. Just a few weeks ago, a Chinese submarine collided with sonar equipment being towed by the USS John S. McCain off Subic Bay in the Philippines. China says that was an accident, but the US says it is worried about the increasing number of such incidents. There is already a mechanism to deal with this kind of conflict.
source : bbc.news.com