China-US conflict will have no winners: Wang

Ms Bishop and Mr Wang in Parliament House, Canberra. Mr Wang said Beijing would link its One Belt, One Road policy with Australia's plan to develop its northern region.
Ms Bishop and Mr Wang in Parliament House, Canberra. Mr Wang said Beijing would link its One Belt, One Road policy with Australia's plan to develop its northern region.PHOTO: REUTERS

CANBERRA • There would be no winner from conflict between China and the United States, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi has warned, seeking to dampen tension between the two nations that flared after the election of US President Donald Trump.

China is committed to peace, Mr Wang said, after meeting Australia's Foreign Minister Julia Bishop yesterday.

"There cannot be conflict between China and the United States, as both sides will lose and both sides cannot afford that," he said.

While seeking to reduce tension, Mr Wang called on global leaders to reject protectionism, which Mr Trump has backed with his "America First" economic plans.

"It is important to firmly commit to an open world economy," Mr Wang added. "It is important to steer economic globalisation towards greater inclusiveness, broader shared benefit in a more sustainable way."

While Mr Trump's trade policies have spurred concern the US is entering a period of economic protectionism, China has previously accused Australia of adopting a similar practice by blocking the sale of major assets to Chinese interests.

Ms Bishop urged China to consider joining a pan-Pacific trade pact after Mr Trump abandoned the Trans-Pacific Partnership last month.

"I want to encourage China to consider the agreement," she said.

Mr Wang said Beijing would link its One Belt, One Road policy with Australia's plan to develop its remote northern region.

The programme announced by President Xi Jinping in 2013 envisages investments by China in infrastructure projects, including railways and power grids in central, west and southern Asia, as well as Africa and Europe. Australia has ambitious plans to develop its Northern Territory, a region with little infrastructure, but efforts have largely stalled for lack of investment.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 08, 2017, with the headline 'China-US conflict will have no winners: Wang'. Print Edition | Subscribe