BEIJING: As China and the US under a new president look to chart a fresh course in their relationship, Chinese President Xi Jinping has called cooperation “the only correct choice”.
“The common interests of China and the US far exceed our differences, and cooperation is the only correct choice for both sides,” he said, adding that Sino-US diplomatic ties were important to not just for the two major powers but also the world.
“We need to strengthen strategic mutual trust and increase mutual awareness,” Xi told visiting US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson when they met in the Great Hall of the People yesterday.
Tillerson, visiting China for the first time since taking up his post, told Xi : “We know that through further dialogue, we will achieve a greater understanding that will lead to a ... strengthening of the ties between China and the United States and set the tone for our future relationship of cooperation.”
The two sides are preparing for a summit meeting between Xi and his US counterpart, President Donald Trump, the first time the two will meet.
They have spoken on the phone twice – after Trump won the Nov 8 election and after he took office in January.
The leaders are expected to meet next month in the US, at a time when differences have sharpened between the two powers over issues such as the North Korean nuclear and missile programmes and maritime disputes in the East China and South China seas.
Trump’s accusation that China is hurting US businesses and workers with its trade policy and his threats of retaliation have added uncertainty to the relationship.
Xi yesterday called for the strengthening of communication and coordination on the region’s “hot issues” and for both sides to “respect each other’s core interests and major concerns”, according to state media. — The Straits Times / Asia News Network