China, US officials stress positives in relationship

Focus on cooperation and shared efforts ahead of Xi Jinping's visit to Washington

BEIJING • China and the US yesterday stressed the positives in their complex relationship during meetings between American National Security Adviser Susan Rice and Chinese officials ahead of a visit to Washington by Chinese President Xi Jinping next month.

"We have seen our bilateral relationship evolve and strengthen in recent months. And we have found areas of broadened and deepened cooperation that we are certainly looking forward to building upon," Dr Rice told China's top diplomat, State Councillor Yang Jiechi, adding that "we have been able to discuss frankly our differences, which we both acknowledge need to be addressed effectively".

Mr Yang said that both countries had cooperated closely over the Iran and North Korean nuclear issues. "With shared efforts on both sides, China-US relations have maintained a trend of overall positive development recently," he added.

Mr Xi told Dr Rice that China wanted "sustainable and steady growth" in ties with the US, and that "we stand ready to further promote our practical cooperation, effectively manage the sensitive issues between us and strengthen the friendship between the people of both countries".

Dr Rice also met Mr Fan Changlong, a vice-chairman of the Central Military Commission, which Mr Xi heads and which controls the Chinese armed forces.

Mr Fan said his meeting with Dr Rice was the fourth in a year, which showed the importance the two countries attach to military-to-military ties. "Both sides should work hard to control and manage disputes and risks," Xinhua news agency quoted Mr Fan as saying.

Dr Rice said the US was committed to developing healthy and stable ties with the People's Liberation Army, and praised cooperation between the two over the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and efforts to fight piracy in the Gulf of Aden.

There was no mention of cyber issues or the South China Sea.

The United States has repeatedly expressed concern about Chinese reclamation work in the South China Sea. China says the United States is not a claimant nation in the dispute and should stay out of it.

Beijing claims most of the South China Sea, through which US$5 trillion (S$7 trillion) in ship-borne trade passes every year.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 29, 2015, with the headline 'China, US officials stress positives in relationship'. Print Edition | Subscribe