China wants dialogue, but US must 'respect core interests'

CHINESE FOREIGN MINISTER WANG YI
CHINESE FOREIGN MINISTER WANG YIPHOTO: REUTERS

BEIJING • China wants dialogue with the new United States administration to manage disputes and promote bilateral relations, but only on the basis of respecting each other's core interests, such as the "one China" principle, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi has said.

US President Donald Trump had upset Beijing before taking office last Friday by casting doubt on the "one China" principle, under which Washington acknowledges Beijing's position of sovereignty over self-ruled Taiwan.

China views Taiwan as a wayward province, to be brought under its control by force if necessary.

In an address at a diplomatic reception ahead of Chinese New Year, Mr Wang said that the future direction of Sino-US relations had "attracted attention".

"We are willing, on the basis of strictly abiding by the 'one China' principle and respect of each other's core interests, to have dialogue with the new US government," he said in comments posted on the Chinese Foreign Ministry's website on Tuesday.

ABIDING BY 'ONE CHINA' PRINCIPLE

We are willing, on the basis of strictly abiding by the 'one China' principle and respect of each other's core interests, to have dialogue with the new US government.

CHINESE FOREIGN MINISTER WANG YI, on ties with the Trump administration.


INESCAPABLE RESPONSIBILITY

Currently, the world economy needs a strong engine to lead to stronger development and faster growth. It is the inescapable responsibility for China and the United States to do this, rather than heading towards a trade war.

CHINESE AMBASSADOR TO WASHINGTON CUI TIANKAI,

on how both countries would suffer in any trade war.

China is willing to "increase mutual trust, focus cooperation, manage and control disputes and promote the healthy development of China- US relations, to bring even greater benefits to both peoples", he said.

Separately, state news agency Xinhua quoted Chinese Ambassador to Washington Cui Tiankai as saying that while the Trump administration has yet to formulate a China policy, the general trend of China-US cooperation cannot be reversed, as it is "the only right choice" for both.

In any trade war, both countries would suffer, he added.

"Currently, the world economy needs a strong engine to lead to stronger development and faster growth. It is the inescapable responsibility for China and the United States to do this, rather than heading towards a trade war," Mr Cui said.

With Mr Trump's decision to quit the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), Mr Cui said China cannot take over the US role as the global leader who makes trade rules.

"I think this is a misleading notion, because international trade rules cannot be made by the United States or China alone, and rather, they should be made and implemented by all nations in the world," he said.

On the South China Sea issue, Mr Cui emphasised it is only a dispute on territorial and maritime rights between China and certain Asean members, rather than a geopolitical contest between China and the US.

Citing progress being made in the talks on formulating the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea and maritime cooperation, Mr Cui said countries from outside the region should support such efforts to restore tranquillity instead of creating new hurdles.

In his speech, Mr Wang had also mentioned the South China Sea issue, saying China will insist on using dialogue and negotiation to deal with the matter.

He said China hopes to keep strengthening friendly ties with its neighbours, deepening cooperation through the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation mechanism, a sub- regional platform involving China, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam. China will also pro-actively seek a workable plan for the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula, he said.

In his speech, Mr Wang also touched on ties with Russia and Europe. Noting that leaders from China and Russia had kept up close exchanges in the past year, he said China wished to comprehensively promote high-level Sino-Russian strategic cooperation this year.

China also hopes to strengthen partnerships for peace, growth, reform and civilisation between China and Europe, said Mr Wang.

REUTERS, XINHUA

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 26, 2017, with the headline 'China wants dialogue, but US must 'respect core interests''. Print Edition | Subscribe