In jab at US, Chinese Vice-President Wang Qishan says world cannot shut China out

Mr Wang Qishan, who is very close to Chinese President Xi Jinping, became vice-president last year.
Mr Wang Qishan, who is very close to Chinese President Xi Jinping, became vice-president last year.PHOTO: REUTERS

BEIJING (REUTERS) - China and the rest of the world must co-exist, Chinese Vice-President Wang Qishan said on Monday (July 8), in an indirect jab at the United States with which Beijing is currently trying to resolve a bitter trade war.

"China's development can't shut out the rest of the world. The world's development can't shut out China," Mr Wang said in an opening address to the World Peace Forum at Beijing's elite Tsinghua University.

Mr Wang also warned against "protectionism in the name of national security", without mentioning the US, and called major powers to make more contributions to global peace and stability.

The Trump administration has accused China of engaging in unfair trade practices that discriminate against US firms, forced technology transfers and intellectual property rights theft, all charges Beijing has denied.

Both sides have levelled increasingly severe tariffs on the other's imports.

China has also been angered by US sanctions against Chinese tech giant Huawei Technologies Co over national security concerns.

Mr Wang, who is extremely close to Chinese President Xi Jinping and who speaks in public only rarely, reiterated China's commitment to opening up.

The world needs China just as much as China needs the world, said Mr Wang, who became vice-president last year, having previously lead Mr Xi's fight against deep-rooted corruption.

"Large countries must assume their responsibilities and set an example, make more contributions to global peace and stability, and broaden the path of joint development," he said.

"Development is the key to resolving all issues," Mr Wang told an audience that included senior Beijing-based Western diplomats and former European Council president Herman Van Rompuy.

Top representatives of the US and China are organising a resumption of talks for this week to try to resolve the year-long trade war between the world's two largest economies.

The two sides have been in communication by telephone since last month's G-20 summit, when US President Donald Trump and Mr Xi agreed to relaunch talks that had stalled in May.

Talks between the two sides broke down in May after US officials accused China of pulling back from commitments it had made previously in the text of an agreement that negotiators said was nearly finished.

The two countries have been at loggerheads over a series of other issues, from human rights to the disputed South China Sea and US support of self-ruled Taiwan, claimed by China as its own.

Mr Wang said that no matter how the international situation develops or how China develops, it will walk the path of peace, and not seek spheres of influence or expansion.

"If there is no peaceful, stable international environment, there will be no development to talk of."