Following months of tension between U.S. and Chinese officials, U.S. National Security Adviser Susan Rice emerged from talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping saying both sides had agreed to "address disagreements forthrightly and effectively." The meeting took place during Rice's two-day visit to Beijing to meet with senior Chinese officials.

The meeting comes as China seeks to solidify its claim to the disputed South China Sea area. Earlier this month, China's foreign ministry released a report stating that the country has stopped building in the disputed region. However, a report from the Pentagon released Aug. 20 claimed that China has reclaimed 2,900 acres of land in the disputed Spratly Islands.



A previous statement from White House National Security said that the talks with Xi would focus on "building a more productive relationship" between the U.S. and China, as well as discussing "areas of difference." The statement also noted that Rice would be meeting with State Councilor Yang Jiechi to discuss global, regional and bilateral issues during her visit. Rice's trip was aimed at underscoring the U.S.' commitment to developing "a more productive relationship" between the U.S. and China.

U.S. diplomat Daniel Russel last month said that the U.S. is not a neutral party in the debates over the South China Sea, and the U.S. will "come down forcefully" in adhering to international law. Beijing has reportedly been wary of the recent supposed pivot of U.S. foreign policy toward Asia.

Rice's visit is a precursor to Xi's state visit to the United States in September. President Obama is expected to confront Xi over cybersecurity concerns during his state visit next month. White House officials said the president will "no doubt" address these concerns with Xi, in a period of rising tensions over allegations that U.S. government personnel records were hacked into by Chinese operatives.