BEIJING—Gen. Xu Qilian is China's most powerful military boss and as vice chairman of the all-powerful Central Military Commission was the last meeting for Defense Secretary Jim Mattis during a two-day visit to China last week.
Xu greeted Mattis warmly at the ceremonial Chinese Defense Ministry building known as Bayi. The general showed little emotion and few clues to the growing tensions with the United States over Beijing's buildup of missiles on disputed islands in the South China Sea.
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