New uncertainties in ties with US, says Chinese minister

China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi attends a joint news conference at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in Beijing, China on Aug 25, 2016.
China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi attends a joint news conference at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in Beijing, China on Aug 25, 2016.PHOTO: REUTERS

BEIJING • China-US relations face new uncertainties but with mutual respect for core interests, they will remain stable, China's foreign minister said yesterday, adding that one individual will not impede ties, a likely reference to US President-elect Donald Trump.

President Xi Jinping spoke with Mr Trump soon after Mr Trump won last month's election, but Beijing has been unsettled by Mr Trump's subsequent phone call with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, suggestions that he may change US policy towards self-ruled Taiwan, and his threats to impose tariffs on Chinese imports.

In an interview with the ruling Communist Party's official People's Daily that was carried yesterday, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said the Xi-Trump call was a positive sign for a smooth transition in Sino-US ties.

"Of course, going forward, China-US relations will face new complexities and uncertain factors," Mr Wang said.

"But 'thick mountains could not stop the river from flowing into the sea'," he added, quoting an ancient Chinese poem Mr Xi had cited in June at a high-level China-US forum. It means that all rivers have to travel a meandering course before getting to their final destination.

Mr Wang's comments came after China returned an unmanned underwater vehicle to the US on Tuesday.

China's Foreign Ministry said yesterday that people should not read too much into the seizure of the drone in the disputed South China Sea last week.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 23, 2016, with the headline 'New uncertainties in ties with US, says Chinese minister'. Print Edition | Subscribe