Mattis said the USA just has to learn how to manage its relationship with the communist nation.
China's defense and foreign ministries each released statements Tuesday sharply criticizing the United States, though not disputing details of the USA accusations involving the Decatur.
The Pentagon accused the Chinese navy of using "an unsafe and unprofessional maneuver" when one of its destroyers challenged a USA destroyer, the USS Decatur, as it sailed Sunday near one of the disputed islets that China claims in the Spratly archipelago.
The incident took place on September 30th in the South China Sea, in the Spratly islands chain near Gaven and Johnson Reefs.
The US disregard of China's claims over the disputed waters, through which trillions of dollars-worth of trade passes annually, is being demonstrated amid unprecedented tensions between the world's two largest economies.
More details are emerging about the near collision between US and Chinese destroyers last Sunday morning in the South China Sea.
The Chinese destroyer came within 41 metres of the American warship, the USA navy said, describing the Chinese move as "unsafe and unprofessional".
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Days earlier, China nixed a planned port visit of a US warship to Hong Kong, and canceled a meeting between the head of the Chinese navy and his American counterpart.
USA and Chinese forces are confronting one another in the South China Sea with increasing regularity, as Washington exerts pressure on Beijing's aggressive territorial claims. Normally, a country would have to inform another nation when warships are on innocent passage within 12 miles of that country's territory. However, in 2016, an worldwide tribunal ruled against China's territorial claims in the Spratly Islands - a ruling the country rejected.
This incident comes amid heightened US-China tensions over a broad range of issues.
Pence will say the U.S. intelligence community has determined that China is targeting USA state and local governments and officials to exploit any divisions between federal and local levels on policy. The two countries have imposed increasingly severe rounds of tariffs on each other's imports.
This is not the first time that the relations between China and the United States are going through turbulence.
Beijing has previously criticised freedom of navigation operations by the United States in the South China Sea as an infringement of its territorial sovereignty. Two United States Air Force B-52 bombers from the 96th Expeditionary Squadron in Guam flew over the South China Sea last week and another two flew over the East China Sea.
On Tuesday, Hua said China and the U.S. had previously agreed in principle to hold the dialogue in mid-October, while the USA recently proposed putting it off.
The Chinese have turned a number of the coral atolls into fortified islands.