‘Mu­tual in­ter­ests beat dif­fer­ences’

Coun­tries should ex­plore av­enues of all-round co­op­er­a­tion: Pre­mier

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - By ZHAO YI­NAN zhaoy­i­nan@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Eco­nomic ties are a “bal­last” for over­all China-US re­la­tions, Pre­mier Li Ke­qiang said on Thurs­day, de­spite re­cent mar­itime ten­sions be­tween the two navies.

The pre­mier hoped the coun­tries, the world’s largest economies, can prop­erly han­dle dif­fer­ences, re­spect each other’s core in­ter­ests and ma­jor con­cerns, and look at the big­ger pic­ture and long-term per­spec­tive.

Mu­tual in­ter­ests have out­weighed dif­fer­ences since diplo­matic re­la­tions re­sumed 35 years ago, Li said.

“We should seize the op­por­tu­nity, ex­plore the po­ten­tial for co­op­er­a­tion and pro­mote a healthy and sta­ble Sino-US re­la­tion­ship,” he said as he met the US del­e­ga­tion for the 24th Ses­sion of the China-US Joint Com­mis­sion on Com­merce and Trade in Bei­jing on Thurs­day.

His re­marks came af­ter a re­cent in­ci­dent at sea.

Me­dia re­ported the US mis­sile cruiser Cow­pens broke into the Chi­nese navy’s drilling waters in the South China Sea on Dec 5, de­spite warn­ings from China’s air­craft car­rier task group, and the US cruiser al­most col­lided with a Chi­nese war­ship nearby.

China’s De­fense Min­istry said it has had ef­fec­tive com­mu­ni­ca­tion with its US coun­ter­parts about the near miss, while US State Depart­ment spokesper­son Marie Harf said that the in­ci­dent will not in­flu­ence Sino-US ties.

At Thurs­day’s meet­ing, Li said he looks for­ward to a “prag­matic and can­did” talk.

“Bi­lat­eral trade was barely sev­eral bil­lion dol­lars 30 years ago, but to­day the trade vol­ume stands at around sev­eral hun­dred bil­lion dol­lars. The num­ber has ex­ceeded the ex­pec­ta­tions of many peo­ple,” Li said.

Sino-US trade hit $472 bil­lion from Jan­uary to Novem­ber.

He also said he hopes the US re­laxes its re­stric­tion on high-tech ex­ports to China and cre­ates fa­vor­able con­di­tions for Chi­nese in­vestors.

Chi­nese of­fi­cials and com­pa­nies have long com­plained about the US bar­ring Chi­nese com­pa­nies such as tele­com gi­ant Huawei Tech­nolo­gies from sign­ing deals in the US on grounds of na­tional se­cu­rity.

US Sec­re­tary of Com­merce Penny Pritzker, who led the US del­e­ga­tion, said she agrees that a strong eco­nomic re­la­tion­ship be­tween the US and China is of vi­tal im­por­tance to both coun­tries.

A pos­i­tive and suc­cess­ful ses­sion will help strengthen the eco­nomic re­la­tion­ship, she said, and the meet­ing has demon­strated its ca­pa­bil­ity to re­solve many key is­sues.

The China-US Joint Com­mis­sion on Com­merce and Trade was launched in 1983 as a plat­form for the coun­tries to pro­mote trade and ad­dress is­sues of mu­tual con­cern.

This year, the for­mal dis­cus­sion will be­gin on Fri­day af­ter a closed-door talk on Thurs­day, and they are ex­pected to reach agree­ments in com­merce, agri­cul­ture and other fields.

Zhou Shi­jian, a se­nior trade re­searcher at the Center for US-China Re­la­tions at Ts­inghua Univer­sity, said the ses­sion has at­tracted more at­ten­tion as the US Fed­eral Re­serve has an­nounced a scal­ing down of its bond buy­ing, which may weaken China’s ex­ports and lead to cap­i­tal out­flow.

He said over­all ties won’t be af­fected by the mil­i­tary ten­sion, as both coun­tries were try­ing to play down the neg­a­tive ef­fects of the nearmiss.

Zhou said the coun­tries have brought their is­sues to the ne­go­ti­a­tion ta­ble, and he be­lieves they will ex­change views in a “deep and can­did” way.

“But I doubt if the meet­ing could thor­oughly re­solve th­ese is­sue at once, es­pe­cially high-tech ex­port re­stric­tions,” he said.

XIE HUANCHI / XIN­HUA

Chi­nese Pre­mier Li Ke­qiang meets the US del­e­ga­tion for the 24th Ses­sion of the China-US Joint Com­mis­sion on Com­merce and Trade led by US Sec­re­tary of Com­merce Penny Pritzker on Thurs­day in Bei­jing. The di­a­logue will for­mally open on Fri­day.

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