China ready to meet US ‘halfway’, ensure Trump-Xi meet success

By: | Published: April 3, 2017 5:59 PM

The meeting to be held on April 6 and 7 at Trump's luxurious residence at Mar-a-Lago in Florida bears a great significance to the development of China-US relations in the new era.

China hopes that the two sides will meet each other “halfway” and continue making joint efforts to ensure the meeting a success. (Reuters)

China has told the US that it was willing to meet it “halfway” and make efforts to ensure the “complete success” of the much-anticipated first summit between President Xi Jinping and his American counterpart Donald Trump this week. In his telephonic conversation with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson yesterday, Chinese State Councillor Yang Jiechi said that the upcoming meeting between their Presidents mattered greatly to the development of China-US relations.

The meeting to be held on April 6 and 7 at Trump’s luxurious residence at Mar-a-Lago in Florida bears a great significance to the development of China-US relations in the new era, as well as to promoting peace, stability and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region and the world as a whole, Yang said. Tensions have been rising between the two sides with Trump delivering tough messages on North Korea ahead of his meeting with Xi.

China hopes that the two sides will meet each other “halfway” and continue making joint efforts to ensure the meeting a success, Yang was quoted as saying by the state-run Xinhua news agency as saying. “We hope both sides can make efforts in the same direction …to ensure the summit between the two leaders is a complete success,” Yang said.

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Tillerson said the US side will exert all efforts to prepare for the meeting and was willing to work with the Chinese side to make sure that the meeting can produce positive results. Trump has said the United States was prepared to act alone if China does not take a tougher stand against North Korea’s nuclear weapons programme.

“Yes, we will talk about North Korea. And China has great influence over North Korea. And China will either decide to help us with North Korea, or they won’t. And if they do, that will be very good for China, and if they don’t, it won’t be good for anyone,” Trump was quoted as saying. Trump had also tweeted last week that the meeting with Xi would be a “very difficult” one due to trade issues.

After initial apprehensions over Trump’s victory specially after his high decibel anti-China rhetoric, officials say Beijing feels confident to handle the “Twitter President” after he quietly gave up his tough talk earlier to negotiate on ‘One-China’ policy, a no-go area for Chinese diplomacy as Beijing insists Taiwan is part of its mainland.

The first phone talk between Trump and Xi became a reality only after Trump, in a U-turn, said he would abide by the ‘One China’ policy on Taiwan.

“The change (of stance by Trump) creates an impression that Trump is learning about his role in the realm of Sino-US ties. He’s now sending a new message that he does not want to be a disruptor of the Sino-US relations,” an editorial in the state-run Global Times had said after Xi-Trump talks.

A host of issues including Trump’s charge of China as a currency manipulator, threat to impose 45 per cent duty on Chinese exports, take action on island building by Beijing in the disputed South China Sea besides the ‘One China’ policy relating to Taiwan were expected to be discussed between the two leaders.

Ahead of the talks, the China-US trade in goods amounted to USD 519.6 billion in 2016, a manifold increase since 1979 when the two countries set up diplomatic ties. China has a large share in the bilateral trade with its exports to US amounting to about USD 400 billion.

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