New Year messages

Xi Jinping to Donald Trump: Cooperation best choice for US and China

US President Donald Trump with Chinese President Xi Jinping during a visit to Beijing in 2017. In his congratulatory message to Mr Xi yesterday, Mr Trump said it was his priority to promote cooperative and constructive US-China relations. The two lea
US President Donald Trump with Chinese President Xi Jinping during a visit to Beijing in 2017. In his congratulatory message to Mr Xi yesterday, Mr Trump said it was his priority to promote cooperative and constructive US-China relations. The two leaders also had a phone conversation last weekend.PHOTO: REUTERS

Chinese President says bilateral relations have made historic progress in past 40 years

BEIJING • History shows that cooperation is the best choice for both China and the United States, Chinese President Xi Jinping told US President Donald Trump in a congratulatory message yesterday to mark 40 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations.

The two countries agreed last month to a 90-day temporary ceasefire in their bitter trade war to give them time to hold fresh talks to try and end a dispute that has seen them impose increasingly severe tariffs on each other's goods.

In his message to Mr Trump, Mr Xi said China-US relations have experienced ups and downs but have made historic progress over the past four decades, state news agency Xinhua said.

This has brought huge benefits to the two peoples and contributed greatly to world peace, stability and prosperity, Mr Xi added. "History has proved that cooperation is the best choice for both sides," he said.

Sino-US relations are at an important stage, he added.

"I attach great importance to the development of China-US relations and am willing to work with President Trump to summarise the experience of the development of China-US relations and implement the consensus we have reached in a joint effort to advance China-US relations featuring coordination, cooperation and stability so as to better benefit the two peoples as well as the people of the rest of the world," Mr Xi said.

Mr Trump sent his own congratulatory message in return, saying it was his priority to promote cooperative and constructive US-China relations, Xinhua added.

ADVANCING SINO-U.S. TIES

I attach great importance to the development of China-US relations and am willing to work with President Trump to summarise the experience of the development of China-US relations and implement the consensus we have reached in a joint effort to advance China-US relations featuring coordination, cooperation and stability so as to better benefit the two peoples as well as the people of the rest of the world.

CHINESE PRESIDENT XI JINPING

Mr Xi and Mr Trump also spoke by telephone at the weekend. Mr Trump said he had a "long and very good call" with Mr Xi and that a possible trade deal between the US and China was progressing well.

Both countries have made plans for face-to-face consultations over trade this month, China's Commerce Ministry said last week.

Xinhua, in a commentary, said it was only natural the two countries would have disagreements and encounter problems, considering their "different social systems, development paths and historical and cultural backgrounds". "At a time when the world is undergoing unprecedentedly profound changes and is fraught with risks and uncertainties, the global community expects even closer collaboration between the two largest economies," it said.

This year marks the 70th year since the founding of the People's Republic of China. The anniversary underscores the urgency Mr Xi faces in turning around stalled growth and investor confidence, while pushing forward an agenda of political reform that will strengthen his power.

In his annual New Year's Eve address on Monday, Mr Xi urged self-reliance amid change "unseen in 100 years", as the country faced an economic slowdown and a more confrontational US.

 
 
 

But he also stressed China's capacity to weather the storm, citing a series of industrial and technological achievements last year.

Mr Xi said the government would keep growth from slowing too quickly and follow through on a tax cut as part of an effort "to ease the burden on enterprises".

"Despite all sorts of risks and challenges, we pushed our economy towards high-quality development, sped up the replacement of the old drivers of growth, and kept the major economic indicators within a reasonable range."

The government launched more than 100 reform measures last year and stepped up efforts to improve standards of living. "Our people are the country's solid foundation and our main source of confidence to govern," Mr Xi said.

A little less than a year since he scrapped term limits, clearing the path towards his indefinite rule, Mr Xi has seen his major initiatives - notably the Belt and Road trade and infrastructure programme - draw international backlash amid the unprecedented trade war with the US.

China's growth is still slowing as it transitions from a high-growth, export-led model to a consumer-focused state.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 02, 2019, with the headline 'Xi to Trump: Cooperation best choice for US and China '. Print Edition | Subscribe