Donald Trump

Call between China and US presidents ‘previously agreed’, says Chinese spokesman

Foreign ministry says both countries will maintain close contact

PUBLISHED : Friday, 10 February, 2017, 7:32pm
UPDATED : Friday, 10 February, 2017, 7:32pm

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said a call between President Xi Jinping and his US counterpart Donald Trump was “an arrangement that had been previously agreed”, and officials from both countries would maintain close contact.

Speaking at a regular press conference, Lu declined to answer whether it was Xi or Trump who initiated the call, or how long the preparation period was that led to the call.

He said “both sides will maintain close contact at working level [in preparation] for the interaction between the two countries’ senior leadership”.

“The One-China principle is the political foundation of the Sino-US relations. To adhere to the one-China policy … is a responsibility that the US government should fulfil,” Lu said, adding that China “appreciates” Trump’s pledge to uphold the policy.

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Lu also declined to comment whether the two leaders discussed other topics, such as the disputes in the South China Sea or the US deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Defence anti-missile system in South Korea.

The White House described the call as “lengthy” and “extremely cordial” and both Xi and Trump extended invitations to meet in their respective countries.

“Regarding specific issues, China’s position has been clear. And the US side understandsclearly China’s position,” Lu said.

In the Friday morning call that was not announced beforehand, Trump told Xi that he fully respected the importance of the one-China policy and that his administration would adhere to it, state-run China Central Television reported.

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Trump made the pledge at Xi’s request, according to a statement issued by the White House.

“The two leaders discussed numerous topics and President Trump agreed, at the request of President Xi, to honour our one-China policy,” the statement read.

According to China Central Television, Trump told Xi that he fully respected the importance of the one-China policy and his administration would adhere to the policy, which recognises that Taiwan is part of China and has been seen as the basis of Sino-US relations since the 1970s.