Cooperation is best for us both, Xi Jinping tells Donald Trump as they hail 40 years of China-US ties
- Xi’s congratulatory message says the two nations have had ups and downs but have made historic progress
- Trump also prioritises cooperation in his message to Xi, and says the pair had a ‘long and very good phone call’ at weekend
History shows that cooperation is the best choice for both China and the United States, Chinese President Xi Jinping told US counterpart Donald Trump on Tuesday in a congratulatory message 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 to end a dispute in which they have imposed increasingly severe tariffs on each other’s goods.
In his message to Trump, Xi said China-US relations had experienced ups and downs but made historic progress over the past four decades, state news agency Xinhua reported.
This had brought huge benefits to both nations’ people and contributed greatly to world peace, stability and prosperity, Xi said.
“History has proved that cooperation is the best choice for both sides,” Xi said, adding that Sino-US relations were at an important stage.
“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.”
Trump sent his own congratulatory message in return, saying it was his priority to promote cooperative and constructive US-China relations, Xinhua added.
Xi and Trump also spoke by telephone over the weekend. Trump said he had a “long and very good call” with Xi and that a possible trade deal between the United States and China was progressing well.
China and the US had made plans for face-to-face consultations over trade in January, 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.
On January 1, 1979, the United States forged diplomatic ties with the People’s Republic of China while cutting relations with the Republic of China on Taiwan, 30 years after mainland China’s Communist Party came to power.
But concerns have been intensifying that Beijing and Washington could begin to engage in a cold war-like rivalry this year.
Former US president Jimmy Carter warned on Monday that both countries were increasingly describing each other as threats.
“If top government officials embrace these dangerous notions, a modern cold war between our two nations is not inconceivable,” the 94-year-old former president wrote in The Washington Post.
“At this sensitive moment, misperceptions, miscalculations and failure to follow carefully defined rules of engagement in areas such as the Taiwan Strait and South China Sea could escalate into military conflict, creating a worldwide catastrophe.”
Carter, who has devoted his post-presidential career to eradicating poverty, said that the “easiest route” to cooperation between the US and China was in Africa.
“Both countries are already heavily involved there in fighting disease, building infrastructure and keeping peace – sometimes cooperatively. Yet each nation has accused the other of economic exploitation or political manipulation,” Carter wrote.
“Africans – like billions of other people around the world – do not want to be forced to choose a side.
“By working together with Africans, the United States and China would also be helping themselves overcome distrust and rebuild this vital relationship.”
Additional reporting by Agence France-Presse and Kyodo