Sino-US relations

China is ready to work with Trump, Wang Yi tells US counterpart

Foreign minister tells US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that Beijing is prepared to work with for relationship ‘with no conflict or confrontation’

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 18 February, 2017, 10:14pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 19 February, 2017, 1:58am

China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi told his US counterpart Rex Tillerson that Beijing was ready to work with the Trump administration, according to a Chinese account of their meeting in Bonn.

Wang and Tillerson met on Friday at a G20 gathering of foreign ministers – the highest-level Sino-US encounter since US President Donald Trump was elected.

Trump had infuriated Beijing by calling into question Washington’s long-standing one-China policy, but later reaffirmed it in a conciliatory phone call to President Xi Jinping.

“Wang said China and the United States, both shouldering the responsibilities of securing world stability and enhancing global prosperity, had more common interests than disputes,” the statement said.

Meeting of top US and Chinese diplomats a first since Trump’s election

“China is ready to work with the US side to implement the consensus reached between President Xi and President Trump, and move the bilateral relationship forward in the direction that features no conflict, no confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation.”

Wang added that the two sides should increase communication and cooperation “to ensure greater development of bilateral relations during Trump’s presidency”.

The one-China policy is an acknowledgement that Taiwan is not separate from mainland China.

Trump’s telephone call with Taiwan’s president Tsai Ing-wen after his November election victory infuriated Beijing, which saw it as a repudiation of the one-China policy.

Tillerson also urged China to use all available tools to moderate North Korea’s destabilising ­behaviour when highlighting the increasing threat posed by North Korea’s nuclear and missile programmes,

Wang said that China had not given up hope for a new round of diplomacy with North Korea to prevent Pyongyang making further advances in its weapons programme in violation of UN resolutions.

“There are still opportunities for the resumption of six-part talks,” Wang told the Munich Security Conference, referring to talks with the United States, South Korea, China, Japan and Russia. “We should work to bring the parties back to the table.”

North Korea said this week it had successfully test-fired a new type of medium- to long-range ballistic missile. The state-run KCNA news agency said leader Kim Jong-un supervised the test of the weapon capable of carrying a nuclear warhead.

Doubts over Trump’s foreign policy gradually calmed by Tillerson

Cui Zhiying, a Korea specialist at the Centre for Asia-Pacific Studies at Tongji University, said an unstable North Korea “would bring no good to all related countries” including the US. “China’s attitude on North Korea issue is very clear: to ensure the peace and stability of the peninsular, denuclearisation, and to solve issues via dialogue,” Cui said.

“The key is whether the US will send any signal for dialogue with North Korea, not merely pressuring China.”

In 2005, North Korea reached an agreement with those six countries to suspend its nuclear programme in return for diplomatic rewards and energy assistance.

Negotiations collapsed after the last round of talks in 2008, with North Korea declaring the deal void after refusing inspections to verify compliance and leading to a series of new sanctions on Pyongyang, as well as international condemnation.

With their threats to China, Trump and Tillerson are making rookie blunders that will only hurt US credibility

“We hope all parties concerned will refrain from taking further actions that may lead to an escalation of tensions,” Wang said.

North Korea has conducted five nuclear tests, two of them last year, although its claims to be able to miniaturise a nuclear weapon to be mounted on a missile have never been verified independently.

Meanwhile Chinese Ministry of Commerce said Beijing will suspend all imports of coal from North Korea starting from Sunday to the end of this year, as part of its efforts to implement United Nations sanctions against Pyongyang.

Additional reporting by Wendy Wu